A year on – reflecting on the establishment of the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarship Fund | Giving Day June 13, 2024

A year on – reflecting on the establishment of the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarship Fund | Giving Day June 13, 2024

Last year’s Giving Day was focused on creating the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarship Fund and now, a year later, Mrs Debbie Niulala speaks on the support she and her family received throughout the campaign and what it’s like to see the scholarship in action. 

Creating a new scholarship fund is no easy task but it was – and remains – the perfect way to honour Mr Suli Niulala’s impact on the Trinity community. Trinity’s 2023 Giving Day focused on the establishment of the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarship Fund and the community’s efforts were extremely effective, shooting past the original goal to raise $500,000, raising more than $600,000 towards the fund.

Last year’s goal was chosen so that the scholarship could – with the help of interest rates – fund itself in perpetuity, allowing Trinity to offer the scholarship to a new student each year, for many years to come. The efforts of one year’s worth of donations are already growing to make it possible for generations to come. 

This feature of the scholarship is something that the Niulala family are extremely proud of. 

“Knowing you can make a difference to at least one family’s life every year … for always? That’s just something that … you don’t get those opportunities very often,” says Mrs Debbie Niulala. 

Mrs Niulala also says that this kind of support – that lasts beyond just one day or one season – is something that Trinity is especially skilled at. 

“The thing that is special and unique, I think, about Trinity, is just the strong desire to really help. In practical ways, but also around the scholarship,” she says. “[The support] didn’t end in that 48 hours. I can honestly tell you that our family has just been looked after by the community of Trinity in so many ways … it’s just endless.” 

One year later, the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarship is in action, with a recipient selected who joined Trinity at the beginning of 2024. Sam Niulala – the eldest Niulala son – has now graduated from Trinity, but before he left, he was able to meet the recipient and see his father’s legacy at work. 

“Luke has also had an opportunity to talk to [the recipient],” Mrs Niulala says. “He had the same levels of excitement. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring another family into the community and just wrap around the family. It’s really important to make sure we’re consistently making families that come into the community – regardless of how they’ve got here – feel so included.” 

Last Giving Day, the grief of losing Suli was still raw for his family and it was difficult to know what the scholarship would look like in reality. But Mrs Niulala says she now spends less time dwelling on the past and, instead, looks to the future. She knows that this scholarship is already paving the way for brighter futures for young, Pacific Islander students who are passionate about the same things Suli was – Rugby and his Christian faith. 

“He would definitely be smiling about these new recipients coming in,” she says. “He’d be smiling that [Mr James] Leckie has a hand in the selection process. And he would be absolutely thrilled that his boys had an opportunity to meet the first recipients. 

“He’d be delighted. And I think he’d just be asking them – whether a recipient or our own boys – to continue to be mindful of the blessings that these things enable and pass those blessings on.” 

Giving Day 2024 takes place from 3pm on Thursday June 13 until 3pm Friday June 14.

Donate via the School’s Charidy Fundraising webpage.

Trinity Giving Day | Thursday June 13

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