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Special week to honor teachers culminates with fun gathering at Stadium tomorrow

All public schools will be closed tomorrow while Department of Education staff and management gather in the morning at Veterans Memorial Stadium for fun and activities, marking the end of Teacher’s Appreciation Week.


DOE director Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau confirmed Tuesday night that she has approved classroom instructions to be closed tomorrow (Friday) so that everyone in the largest ASG department — with over 1,800 employees — is able to honor educators on that day.


For Friday's events, she says deputy directors have worked with their staff in various divisions and schools to hold a prayer service and morning zumba among other activities.


Songs will also be performed by school districts: East, Central, West, and Mid-West.


All Catholic schools in the territory will also have tomorrow off in recognition of teacher appreciation and this has been relayed to all schools, according to Catholic Education Service.


South Pacific International Christian Center school will also be closed tomorrow.


Samoa News also contacted the other private schools, Iakina Academy, Kanana Fou Elementary, and South Pacific Academy and was told that they will be “in session” tomorrow.


(Samoa News suggests that parents of students attending private schools verify with the respective school the status of their school being open tomorrow.)


Hunkin-Finau also says that another event to mark Teacher Appreciation Week is an Awards Dinner tonight hosted by DOE to honor past directors. The event will include Years of Service Awards to teachers who have taught over 20 years in our schools, perfect attendance awards, the 'cleanest school campus' awards, and many other recognitions for outstanding performance.


Regarding this special week for teachers, she said this is part of a national celebration and American Samoa joins the U.S. in celebrating the work of the teachers caring for the children in our Territory.


Further, schools and their parent/teacher associations will celebrate and show their appreciation for their teachers with ulas, gifts, and even serving special breakfasts and lunches for their "unsung heroes".


“As a longtime educator, I am happy to institute an Annual Teacher Appreciation Day for all educators and those who have served and continue to serve our schools and students in our Territory,” she said. “We celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day not just to have a day off from teaching but we have something wonderful to celebrate."


“I have always believed that the teacher is the most important factor in a student's academic achievement. Teachers not only teach students, they have an impact in the future of the country and the world,” she said. “Strong nations invest their resources in education — schools, students, teachers, etc — because they want multiple returns which will secure their future," she said.


She is grateful to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and his administration for recognizing the “value of investing better resources to advance the education of students and teachers.”


“I applaud the noble work of the many men and women who continue to teach our children day in and day out despite unfavorable work conditions, extremely low wages, and often not a mention of gratitude from the world outside the classroom,” she said.


In conclusion, she thanked educators, deputies, bus drivers, the cooks, the janitors, and especially the parents who have worked alongside the teachers.


In his proclamation for teacher’s week, Lolo said teachers work to open students’ minds to idea, knowledge and dreams. Additionally, teachers fill many roles — as listeners, explorers, role models, motivators and mentors.


Therefore, “it is appropriate that teachers be recognized for their dedication and commitment to educating our children,” the governor said and urged all residents to join together to pay tribute to our school teachers "and acknowledge the impact that teachers have on our lives.”