NEWS

Remembering Miss Tora

On the morning of 11 August, Miss Arieta Tegeilolo Tora of Raiwaqa passed away peacefully at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.
19 Aug 2020 15:48
Remembering Miss Tora
Arieta Tora in her International Secondary School Food Technology classroom.

There is a kind of fame with which we are all increasingly fascinated these days. This is fame born of viral videos, notorious or heroic deeds, singular successes, epic fails, and ephemeral celebrity status. ‘Going viral,’ ‘a one-hit-wonder’ or ‘15 minutes of fame’ can come to any of us, any day. It is as fleeting as it is enticing.

But there is another kind of fame found outside the media circus. This is fame born of a lifetime of genuine devotion to service, whether to students or patients, or congregants or clients.

When one becomes known by multiple generations for one’s steadfast discipline, compassion, and gracious, gentle humour, one can be said to have achieved legendary status.

Fiji lost such one legend this week. On the morning of 11 August, Miss Arieta Tegeilolo Tora of Raiwaqa passed away peacefully at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. Born on 25 January, 1942, to Asivorosi and Maca Tora of Somosomo, Gau, Arieta was the second of seven children and the eldest daughter. Arieta grew up in Rewa Street and later Bryce Street, Raiwaqa, attending Annesly Primary and Adi Cakobau School. She was a diligent student and talented sportswoman, representing Fiji in netball and nominated Fiji Sportswoman of the year in 1970.

Who is Ms Tora?

But to most, Arieta was best known as ‘Miss Tora,’ one of the most memorable teachers of their formative school years. Often described as strict, but fair, disciplined, but loving, and passionate about teaching, Miss Tora taught in Fiji’s schools for more than 50 years, beginning in 1961.

After graduating from Teachers Training College, she spent her early years at the Talaulia District School in Kadavu and Vunidawa District School, before training as a Home Economics teacher at the Nasinu Teachers College in 1963. Following several years at the Adi Moapa Government school in Vanuabalavu, Lau, and Levuka Public School in Ovalau, Miss Tora was nominated by the Australian government to undertake Secondary Teacher Training at the Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

When she returned to Fiji in 1970, she was posted to Adi Cakobau School where she taught until 1985, acquiring her Diploma in Education from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in 1980.

Arieta Tora is nominated for Fiji Sportswoman of the Year 1970.

Arieta Tora is nominated for Fiji Sportswoman of the Year 1970.

Miss Tora transferred back to Levuka Public School from 1986 to 1991 and returned to Adi Cakobau School as a teacher and Assistant Principal in 1992 until she retired from Government service in 1999.

Arieta Tora baked the celebratory cake for the ACS 46th Anniversary.

Arieta Tora baked the celebratory cake for the ACS 46th Anniversary.

With her energy, experience, and zeal for teaching, Miss Tora had more to give, and beginning in 2001 she started teaching adult education courses at the International School, Suva.

This developed into a full-time position teaching Food Technology and Domestic Science, which she held until she retired from teaching in 2012 at the age of 70.

Tora family in 2013.

Tora family in 2013.

Walk Of Fame

Walking through the Suva Market with Miss Tora was like walking with any sports hero or movie star every few steps we would be stopped by one of her former students or colleagues for a chat, a hug, a photo.

It was not unusual to hear that she had been teacher to multiple generations in the same family.

And everyone knew her for her dedication, her spirit, her renowned baking skills, and her trademark whistle, which made its appearance at festive occasions.

As the announcement of her passing was made public earlier this week, tributes started pouring in:

“She was such a dignified, gentle, friendly and compassionate lady.”;

“Miss Tora will always be one of my most treasured colleagues and friends. I’ll never forget how welcoming, kind, and supportive she was when I moved into the classroom next to hers.”;

“I have very fond memories of Miss Tora as my teacher at ISS and a great mentor even after I left. She is always fondly spoken about when we reminisce about our school days.”;

“Personally, I was privileged and lucky to have worked with Miss Tora. In her own way she was an inspiration and a mentor to not only her students, but also her colleagues.”

Miss Arieta Tegeilolo Tora is survived by her brothers Apenisa, Timoci, Solomone and sisters Lavenia and Vani; her two sons Timoci ‘Jim’ Tora and Solomone Tora; and her six grandchildren Kautea, Taniela, Samuela, Manoa, Penijameni and Uraia. She is loved and remembered by many, many more.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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