Island News

Farewell Mrs Teleni

Written By : MATAI AKAUOLA. The number 13 seems to be a lucky one for Mrs Mere Latu Teleni. This Spirit filled born-again Christian would attribute all her blessings to
26 Feb 2011 12:00

image Written By : MATAI AKAUOLA. The number 13 seems to be a lucky one for Mrs Mere Latu Teleni.
This Spirit filled born-again Christian would attribute all her blessings to the Lord Almighty.
Yat Sen Secondary School this week bid farewell to outgoing Acting Principal Mrs Teleni who leaves this weekend to join her husband and Fiji’s Ambassador to China, Commodore Esala Teleni.
“I wasn’t really prepared for this, this morning. If I knew, I would have gone to Nadi and just wait for the flight this weekend. But God is good. He has allowed me to come and just say goodbye to the school,” Mrs Teleni said.
In a moving speech at the Yat Sen Hall, she recalled how she reluctantly came to take up her posting at the Flagstaff School in Suva 13 years ago.
She had spent the first 13 at her former school.
Sitting next to Mrs Bessie Ali, the wife of the late Dr Ahmed Ali, brought back fond memories for the former Adi Cakobau School (ACS) student.
“As I was sitting next to Mrs Ali this morning, I remembered that I got transferred from Adi Cakobau School in 1998.
“I remembered this morning that I was not appointed to Yat Sen Secondary School when I got transferred from Adi Cakobau School. My letter of appointment stated that I was to be Head of Social Science in Nasinu Secondary School.
“I reported there on Monday of Term 1 1998. It is still very vivid in my mind. And I was told to conduct the meeting of my department. As usual I took on that role very quickly after I was instructed by the principal, who is now the deputy Permanent Secretary for Education, Rokobua Naiyaga.
However, Mrs Teleni was called back to the NSS principal’s office at the middle of the meeting.
“I was told to report to the office. When I reported to the office, she (Mrs Naiyaga) called me in, closed the door and said “I’m sorry, you have to report to Yat Sen Secondary School this morning.”
I said: “No, I was not appointed to go to Yat Sen Secondary School. I will go back and continue with my meeting I have conducted with the staff members of Nasinu Secondary School.
“She (Mrs Naiyaga) said, the Director of Secondary in the Ministry of Education has just called. Mrs Ali wants to see you in Yat Sen Secondary School.
“I didn’t know Mrs (Bessie) Ali. I said “No, my letter said Nasinu Secondary School.
Having come out of Adi Cakobau as a teacher Mrs Teleni was keen to see an improvement to Fijian education and Nasinu Secondary was ideal.
“And Nasinu Secondary School at that time was getting students from the Juniour Secondary School and mostly they were from the outer islands and I am from Lau too.
“I really wanted to do something to lift the standard of education for island students especially those who were coming from Lau, Lomaiviti, Kadavu and other parts of Fiji, and they would normally go to Nasinu Secondary School so I was really keen on helping them out.
“But Miss Naiyaga looked at me and said, ‘somehow somebody has gone to that school to take up your position but Mrs. Ali does not want her. She wants you and she has gone straight to the Ministry and you are to report to Yat Sen Secondary School.”
Mrs Teleni was not going to let the matter rest. She was very disappointed.
“Who is this Mrs Ali who is asking me to come into Yat Sen Secondary School?
“How dare she do this to me, this time when I’m here to help my fellow Fijians.”
She realised later that it was not God’s plan for her to be at Nasinu Seconday. She felt that her 13 years at ACS was enough for Fijian students from all over the country.
“I knew God knew I had served my term for my community that I had wanted to help. It was time to serve other communities.
“So because I was so angry I went to the Fijian Teachers Association. I wanted them to fight for me and take me back to Nasinu Secondary School.
“I was sitting there because the Industrial Officer at that time had gone out. And since he was out for too long I was sitting there doing nothing, thinking very hard, when my sister called me. She was then the Permanent Secretary.
She said “What are you doing there? “ I was instructed “Get up and go to Yat Sen Secondary School.” So I reluctantly came and reported in 1998 ‘cause I was told Mrs Ali did not want that Head of Social Science. She’d like to have you at Yat Sen.
“As I look back, I knew that God had prepared me for this trip because when I joined Yat Sen Secondary School my two children were at Kindy and right through to Yat Sen Primary.”
She was disappointed her son opted to switch to neighbouring Marist Brothers’ High School, but her daughter Rebecca stay on.
“She (Rebecca) took Advanced Chinese in Yat Sen Primary. It was a big challenge for me. I did everything to try and discourage her. I told her “Go to your teacher and tell your teacher, you must go to learners. You’re not Chinese. Why are you taking Advanced? “ And she asked me to organise private classes for her and I had to pay $20 twice a week for her to attend private classes with I think Ms Teng, then at that time.
“One day Rebecca turned around and told me; this word I shared with the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs. She turned around and told me, “Maybe one day this is going to be useful for us.”
“Today I know those were prophetic words. That it’s going to be useful. She’s even asking her father if she can do part-time for her father and be his interpreter during the weekends when she is going to school.
“I’m sorry I had to share that with you this morning. I realize now that God had brought us here, had prepared us for this trip to China.
“And I take this opportunity to thank you students. We are here for you. We are here because of you and you know our mission, our vision is that this school will be a leading school for excellence.
“Whatever you do, you try and excel because the facilities are here for you, you have some of the best teachers in the country for you, you have one of the most experienced principal for you and you have a very supportive board that provides anything and everything that we need to prepare us and to help us learn well in this school.
“I’ve always reminded you there’s no other school that has the best facilities like Yat Sen Secondary School. And I thank God for this favour, and I thank God for what he has done for this school.
May God bless you and your families, and thank your parents for their overwhelming support. And I wish the teachers, I wish the board- Chinese Education Society Board, and I wish the PTFA, a very successful 2011.
Thirteen years on, Mrs Teleni is on the move again and this posting for her husband to China is initially for three years.
She leaves Yat Sen Secondary School in the capable hands of Mrs Iva Telai who joined the school in 1991.

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