The Last Word

By Semisi Taeiloa | Posted: Tuesday March 23, 2021

Malo lelei and good morning boys. I'm going to start my Last Word off with a quote.

“We all have greatness, for greatness is only determined by service”- Deontay Wilder

We can apply our service in different ways, but without courage your service is limited. Courage involves taking a risk and being vulnerable. If something is easy and safe it does not require courage to do it.

Mr Taufua used to say, “It is better to be called to the front of the room from the back than to be sent to the back of the room from the front.”

I really thought about this when I was asked to be a prefect. Actually, the first thing that went through my mind was oh nah, Last Word, I don't want to do a speech.

But I went back to the hostel and thought about being a prefect and I was still not keen. This ain't me, I just couldn't see it. Then I started to think about the pride my family would have, and also the opportunity. I eventually thought I needed to have the courage to do something different.

It has been hard for me at times to embrace change and accept help. When I first moved from Auckland and into the hostel, it was full of different cultures and a different way of living than I was used to. The first time I was in the South Island was at the orientation for the school and hostel and I had never seen so many palagi. It took me a while to adapt and fit in these new traditions and culture. In my last school there was only one palagi kid. 

The first person that made me feel comfortable was McLeod. He was surprised to see a kid from Auckland and we went for a feed, talked about life and I knew he was a good guy. Soon I realised the hostel boys were just boys, the brothers. Apart from the fact they weren't family and they complained about the food more.

It takes courage to do new things. If you ask me to kick a rugby ball up, easy, tackle that guy, okay, run the ball straight, yooo. Make a speech presenting it to everyone, no thank you! That is something that for some people requires courage but for others, that is what they find easy. Making this speech, being asked to mentor and help other students, attending prefect meetings and being called a leader, these are all things I am not comfortable with. I will make mistakes this year, but one I won't make is not giving it my best shot. I know I will need help at times but knowing my mates and the staff are there to help gives me hope that I will be okay.

I have goals for this year, which are private to me. One thing I must do to achieve them is have the courage to say 'No'. Saying no to your mates because you know it is not the best for you to achieve your goals. It is easy to follow the crowd, to be one of the boys. But does this make you happy? Does this make your family proud? Does this make you proud of the man you see in the mirror? If that's a no, have the courage to ask for help. Have the courage to be your best. I'm going to finish my Last Word off with a quote. “If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?" Morgan Freeman.