Home-Overcoming adversity - The Vaiala Beach School story

Nasime's story

Around the 1960s Lorraine Williams opened a school at Aggie Grey's Flat, in the town of Apia, in the country of Samoa. That school was named Vaiala Beach School. Until the school moved to Vailima, the students attending the school called it Lorraine's School. We were lucky enough to interview one of the first pupils at Vaiala Beach School, Nasime. Nasime was 8 years old when she started Vaiala. She stayed at VBS for a few years then went on to high school. According to Nasime she was very shy and VBS was just what she needed because while she was at other schools, the other children already had heaps of friends and they didn’t need more but with Vaiala everybody wanted to be friends. Back then VBS had (and still does) lots of positive energy.

Back then Lorraine had an odd way of running her class. Instead of having one teacher for each grade, she had one teacher for the whole school. It was like a family. The teacher had to give out different work to each of the students. Say there were five year sixes in the school? You would expect the teacher to give out the same work to all of them but what if one student was smarter that another? It was a good thing that the students were so close because if the teacher was busy helping another student and a younger pupil needed help, he or she could just go over and ask one of the older students. For sports, Nasime recalls that they went swimming in the sea. Once a week they had swimming. They also had singing. Every Monday and Friday, Lorraine got her guitar and had the students sing. The children came to school in mufti because there was no school uniform.

 

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