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Rosy's fond memories

Matilda Simmons
Thursday, November 23, 2017

ROSY Chute had a faraway look as she walked around the school compound of Marist Convent School in Levuka.

The 70-year-old couldn't help but reminence about her younger days at the old institution.

"My mother worked hard to send me here back in the 1950s," she said quietly.

"She was a farmer."

Born to Chinese and i Taukei parentage, Rosy (nee Gock-Mon Chock) said her parents had separated when she was a child and it was left to her mother, Kelera Koroi of Vunimoli, Labasa to raise her and her brother.

"She did her own ploughing, planted sugar cane, rice, vegetables and then sold them in the market," said Rosy.

"She was a tough woman."

Rosy was among several former scholars who came to Levuka to revisit old memories in the old town.

She attended the primary school as a boarder and being far away from home and all the familiarity around it was tough.

"But I managed to overcome it after I saw several girls from Bua and Lekutu there," she chuckled.

"There were girls from Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga who I boarded with and pretty soon we became great friends.

"When I heard about the school reunion, my husband insisted that I attend. He said 'thats your school, go'."

The grandmother flew in from Auckland on Wednesday last week after visiting a granddaughter and came straight to Levuka the next day.

"I had a good catch up with many of my friends and colleagues, it was very nice," she said.

Marist Convent School in Levuka is considered as one of the oldest institutions in the country, having being established in 1892. Back then it was known as Sacred Heart School.

The Catholic Church-run school is well known for the Marist sisters who used to teach there in its heyday.

"They taught us knitting, sewing and embroidery," said Rosy.

"That was one of the subjects."

The proud grandmother of 32 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren says life has been good to her and it's the memories from the old school that will stay with her.

Several elder residents of Levuka who attended the school were present at the reunion. The oldest alumnae was Venice Raddock, who is 98 years old.

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