THE SPECTACLE OF SPORTS COMPETITION is always celebrated by brass bands in a parade of Champions! Tonga is no exception in this matter. After the races have all been completed, there are victories to be cheered by the winner's school and in the spirit of christian schools, everyone is celebrated in a victory parade. And so on the day before Anzac day (a holiday to honor the fallen WWII soldiers from both Australia and New Zealand), Pangai has out sports competition parade.

At noon one can hear the band making their formation just south of downtown, on the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic school. And the batterie strikes up the marching beat. The brass honors the rhythm with the best they can muster and on up the street they march; left, left, to your left-right-left. Here they comeleading the parade of Ha'apai champions! Hooray, huzzah, here comes the Taufa'ahau Pilolevu College Band. The day is bright and sunny, the band is bold and brassy, and the students are all smartly dressed in their school uniforms. It's a real traffic stopper in the downtown area, but in such a small town everyone knows many of the proud members of the Champions Parade.

Here come the Champions! These are the young men and young women who braved the competition, who placed their honor on the line, who boldly came forward to represent their schools and give their all in the spirit of Sports Day. We honor their efforts, for in facing down their greatest fears, they are all true Champions today. And it does'nt hurt to take an afternoon off from classes and have their mums and dads see them leading the parade down the main road in Pangai! Hooray student atheletes, carry on the tradition, and lead your school to another victory!

Now comes the full student body. Following proudly behind their champions, they can march with a spring in their step and their chest held high, for when the competition was at it's toughest their classmates gave it their all! What a wonderful sight, to see all the students of Ha'apai's secondary schools marching together as one down the streets of Pangai! Let us remember this day, the day before Anzac Day, when everyone proved their worth by marching together in the heat of the day. With the band playing out in front, the atheletes following in their place of honor, and all the students from all the schools keeping in step along with a select few of the teachers. This is what the spirit of sports day is really all about. We are all winners when our culture holds a place for cooperation and celebration in the spirit of community for all Ha'apai to come out and see and hear! Hooray!

This is what Taufa'ahau Pilolevu Hall looks like when all the students from all the schools are neatly gathered and sitting politely to see their champions receive their medals of honor. Each winner rises to come forth on stage and get their medal, which they then present to the principal of their own school. Some rise more than once, and some find themselves bestowed with an impromptu cheer from their proud classmates. What an honor, to be cheered by ones peers as they receive their medal and present it to their principal. Throughout the ceremony the students wait patiently, for they know there will be further entertainment after it's done.