Sky is the Limit

“With education, it does not matter who you are and where you come from”.

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Margaret Konata

To achieve success through education is one of the greatest achievements in life.
It is very challenging and tiring but once you overcome those challenges, it is also rewarding.
Some may achieve success through education the easy way being provided daily with what they need while others might achieve it the harder way coming across a lot of challenges.
Catching up with Margaret Konata this week at her home at Koloale, she shared her story of how she became successful through education and becoming who she is today can be a challenge and motivation for students aiming to achieve their goals in education.
Born in Kilufi hospital in Malaita Province in year 1975 on September 19th, Margaret is the third born of four children.
She is part Kiu and part Manawai from West and East AreAre in Malaita Province.
Like many other children beginning their early education at rural areas, a humble Margaret started her primary education in a rural place at Malaita Province.
The schools she attended were Oloburi Primary School (East Kwaio), Wairaha Primary School (West AreAre), Kiu Primary School (West AreAre) and at Manawai Primary School in East Are Are.
Her late mother who was a registered nurse was always being posted to different clinics in Malaita Province, which is the reason why Margaret had to transfer from one primary school to another during her primary school days.
“During these years of traveling from place to place and trying to fit in from one new school to another was a bit challenging for me because of trying to fi t in new environments and also trying to cope with the bullying of children,” recalled Margaret.
“As I was growing up in my primary school years, I learnt to become independent because of these challenges faced of trying to settle in different environments,” she said.
Despite facing these challenges during those years in her school life, the greatest advice Margaret can still clearly remember fromher father was, ‘If you have the potential to go further in education then go for it. I do not want you to ruin your education because of boy relationships or other destructive things that will stop you short, I can’t accept that. But if you fail despite reaching your potential, than I can accept that.”
“From this advice it motivated me with determination that the sky was the limit,” said Margaret.
“After sitting my grade 6 Solomon Islands Secondary Entrance (SISE) exams at Manawai Primary School I was accepted to further my studies at the King George Secondary School where I attended school for 6 years.
“During these years my father continued to encourage me. As one of his motivation for me after my form three examinations, he sent me home on a plane to Are’Are just to inspire me to continue to do well in my education,” she said.
By the time she reached form 5, Margaret was elected to be the Head Girl for KGVI School.
During her form 6 year at KGVI School, she and other fellow form 6 students were interviewed during the June holidays for Scholarship awards that they applied for.
“I later received a phone call from the NTU office after the June holidays saying that the New Zealand Overseas Development Assistance (NZODA) wanted to sponsor me to continue with my form 7 at Nelson College for girls in New Zealand before continuing on the same scholarship to do Chemical Engineering at a University.
“It was demanded of me then to continue to maintain my grades at the end of the year because my score grades in June were really high.
“I had applied for Chemical Engineering during the midyear then so this was why I was to be sponsored for Chemical Engineering by NZODA.”
From 1996 -1997 Margaret did her form 7 at Nelson College for girls. After completing form 7, she was sent to the University of Canterbury to study Chemical Engineering.
“During my second year at the university I found out that I had a weakness in computing design so I decided to switch to do a BSC majoring in chemistry which I completed after 4 years and Graduated on December 2000,” said Margaret.
“I had spent a total of 6 years in New Zealand. During those years living there, I had learnt a lot about myself, different cultures and people and different attitudes. I also learnt to be independent and that is to look after myself, which is a worthwhile experience.
“The different climate was also a challenge as it was very cold, making me sometimes finding it difficult to do my studies,” she said.
After graduating from University, Margaret returned back from New Zealand and went for a holiday break at her home at Kiu, AreAre.
After a month of holiday break she travelled to Honiara in search for employment in February 2001.
Her uncle Joash Maneipuri whom she was living with then had two children and both attended Florence Young Christian School (FYCS) who told Margaret their school needed a science teacher.
“I accepted what my uncle told me as I thought of trying new challenges in my life so I applied to FYCS.
The next day I was called in to start work in which I went and started.
“When I started teaching at FYCS, I thought it would only be for a while but then I created a passion over the years and I am so happy with what I am doing now and that is teaching and educating children in science (Chemistry),” said Margaret.
After 14 years of teaching at FYCS, Margaret is now the Deputy Principle (DP) of FYCS since 2011.
In 2008 to 2010, she went and attended a course offered at the SICHE for Certificate in Teaching Secondary during the holiday breaks in June and December in which she graduated with a certificate in teaching secondary.
Within this week, she will be traveling to Fiji to further her studies in a post grad for science (Chemistry).
“I would like to advice students now that if you have an aim work towards it, it can be tough but anything is possible. If you can’t make it, there are many other opportunities though whether it may be formal or informal, you just have to work hard, because anything is possible,” said Margaret.
Today Margaret Konata is happily married to her husband Peter Konata and earns a sustainable living in which she has deserved through her struggles in education.