Bluesky CEO Justin Tuiasosopo gives keynote speech for Tafuna High School Class of 2021
This year Bluesky CEO, Justin Tuiasosopo, was asked to be the keynote speaker for Tafuna High School Class of 2021 Graduation. This was only fitting, being that Justin Tuiasosopo graduated from Tafuna High School in 2009, even so as Valedictorian. Justin gave a short yet reassuring speech that highlighted one main thing: through tough times and adversity, ANYTHING is possible, should you only look in the directions of Up, Down, Forward/Backward, Side to side.
To view full speech please view below:
O paia o le aso ua uma ona pae lago e le fofoga o le tatou aso, o le a le toe gafataulimaina i se fa’amatalaga. Aua o paia o Samoa, e amata mai i le Taisamsama o le TuiManu’a, se’i paia le fafa o Sauali’i.
I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of your celebration today. And I must be honest, it feels great to be back at the home of the mighty warriors, my alma mater. Let me start off by saying, Congratulations class of 2021!!!
I am here today to tell you that Nothing worthwhile in this world comes easy. You have to work hard for it. You will fail, if you haven’t already. You will learn from those mistakes and that of others. And you will NOT quit. The key is what you do when you are faced with adversity. For me, it comes down to 5 things: Up, Down, Forward, Backward, and side-to-side. Don’t worry, this will make sense in a minute. And no, it’s not a new tik tok dance move.
•First is UP. I want you to look up. No, I don’t mean it literally, I mean figuratively. Now, eyes back at me. When I say look up, I mean, I look up to give thanks and praise to God for the many blessings and opportunities. I look up to ask for forgiveness for my sins and the sins of the world. And I look up especially in times of need and when I feel like it’s the end of the world or if I have no sense of direction. “O Iesu o lo tatou ta’iala”. He has been a guiding compass for me in my life’s journey. I whispered a prayer before/after any major exams, before/after any job interview, and even before coming on this stage to give today’s keynote speech. Always look up to thank the Lord for having your back 24/7.
•Second is DOWN. Now, by a show of hands, how many of you have had another person look down on you? Misunderstood you? Judge you before even getting to know you? Yup, me too. When I first moved to Tutuila from Manu’a, I was in 8th grade. I felt like there was this stigma about kids from Manu’a. As young as I was, I had people say to me, “E vaivai kamaiki Manu’a”. And because I was a transfer student from Manu’a, I was placed in a mainstream class. That really made me feel…how does your generation say it? Oh, kua fau a kama. You see, I am the type of person who when someone tells me that I can’t do something, it fuels me to want to prove them wrong. So, how did this kid from Manu’a do? I came from almost being placed in section F in Junior High to being class valedictorian of Tafuna High School Class of 2009 to being the youngest CEO of Bluesky American Samoa. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve more; not even yourself. Live your life without the apostrophe T. Instead of “I Can’t”, start saying “I Can”.
•Now, FORWARD is the easy part. You have to set a goal of where you’re going and what you want to achieve in life. Write it down. Because a goal not written down is just a dream.Then go forth and conquer the world. Some of you may have plans to go to the military, to college, or straight to work. It doesn’t matter, just go. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. Just make sure that you are constantly setting new goals once the ones you set have been accomplished or life steers you in a different direction. •Next is BACKWARD. In life, you will be forced to compare yourself with your peers. It’s in our nature. But, I’m telling you today to RUN YOUR OWN RACE! Look back at how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished so far and celebrate that growth and steps towards your goal.
•And finally, I want you to look to your side. “No one makes it in this world on their own”. Everyone has somebody on their side, whether you realize it or not. I’m sure the house is FULL today because these are all people in your corner rooting you on to succeed. You may have your parents, teachers, friends, siblings, aunts or uncles, grandparents. “One of the most important lessons you will learn is this: accept help when it is offered and ask for help when it is needed”. So, whenever you are faced with adversity, persevere and remember: UP, DOWN, FORWARD, BACKWARD, and SIDE-TO-SIDE.
Malo le onosa’i. Malo le tauivi. Malo le finafinau i mea lelei.
Congratulations Class of 2021!!!!