Tinian Toese remembered during her 8th grade graduation ceremony
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 8th grader from Pava’ia’i Elementary School who died last week Wednesday afternoon following a drowning accident at the Pala Lagoon Swimming Center, was described by her teacher and several students from her class as a loving, caring and humble person, during the school’s graduation ceremony held at the school last Friday.
It was an emotional and tearful moment for parents, families and friends who attended the ceremony, when the Master of Ceremonies (MC) announced that one of their students who was supposed to graduate this year was unable to attend her special day.
The young girl’s name was Tinian Tuileto’a Toese. Her parents were present for the graduation ceremony, sitting with the school’s principal and Tualauta House Representative, Samuel Ioka Meleisea.
A moment of silence in remembrance of the girl’s young life was observed after the opening prayer that was followed by the release of farewell balloons into the air by Tinian’s teacher and classmates — in memory of a dear student and friend.
In addressing the audience, the teacher of the young girl told the audience that it was really hard for her to stand before everyone especially the parents of Titian, because she knew that what ever she said would not bring back her life.
“I know that a lot of things have been said about what happened,” the teacher said, referring to the drowning incident at the Pala Lagoon Swimming Center that cost the life of this young girl.
“All I can say at this time is that we will accept whatever people have said about this case.
“On behalf of the whole school, I apologize for what happened and let God be the judge. All I can say is that, Tinian was a loving person who always loved to smile. She was a humble young girl. We will never forget your smiling face and we will cherish everything we did in our hearts forever. We love and miss you a lot Tinian,” the teacher concluded.
Some of Tinian’s classmates spoke to Samoa News — remembering her as a smart, as well as caring person.
“She’s one of the smartest students in our class,” one student said with tears in his eyes. “She always loved to sing Christian songs in the class, out in the field or even when we had spare time together. If you asked her for food she always shared anything she had without neglecting anybody.”
Another student described her as someone who loved to be a leader; while another said, “When she came to school every morning, she always welcomed us with a cute smile on her face. I never saw her angry or looking sad. She will be sorely missed by everyone in our class.”
A school official, on the condition of anonymity, told Samoa News, “I was shocked when I heard the news about this horrific incident. Even now I still can’t believe it. It’s hard to accept. I feel for the parents. I can’t drink this cup and it’s my prayer that may the Holy Spirit comfort the parents while they mourn the lost of their eldest daughter’s life.”
News about this sad story was all over Facebook last week with a lot of people who have Facebook accounts sharing the young girl’s status, which was posted on her Facebook account.
Some posted angry comments blaming the teachers who were chaperones during the class field trip, while others called out to the American Samoa Department of Education (AS-DOE) to put a stop to this type of event (field trips), to avoid further tragedies.
This is what the mother wrote on her Facebook account last Wednesday:
“Today my eldest daughter Tinian Makewijere Tuileto’a Toese left our family by shock and sadness. This Friday (last week) was supposed to be her graduation day at the Pava’ia’i Elementary but sadly God has other plans for her. If only I can die to save your life Tinian. I miss you and I wish I had never let you go on that field trip. We were so looking forward to the next level in life, you were heading to high school, but I guess not. I love you dearly and you will always be in our hearts.”