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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 8) – Deanne Seini Fakalolo Kiana Puloka, 18, of Lotoha’apai, made local history on Tuesday, when she became the "dux" [top student] of Tonga High School, Tonga's premier high school, for the second year in a row.

Deanne was dux last year at the Form 6 level, and then this year when the Tonga High School Form 7 officially became part of the school, she recaptured the academic title as a Form 7 pupil by gaining top marks in the three subjects of English, Computer Studies and History.

Deanne said that becoming the dux again this year was a happy and unexpected achievement. She said last year she aimed to become the Tonga High dux because her father died a year earlier, and she wanted to be the best she could be.

Deanne said this year it was unexpected for her in the sense that she was already the dux of the school, and her goal this year was working towards getting a scholarship for college in 2006.

"But when they called out that I got three subjects and came first in my Form class that’s when I figured it out that I would be a dux again," she said.

Deanne is the eldest daughter of an American mother Vivian Crow Puloka and a Tongan father, the late Sione Puloka, of Lotoha'apai. She has applied for two colleges in her mother’s home state of Illinois in the United States and she is looking at following her parents in the field of science.

She said one of the two colleges she applied to, McKendree College, has accepted her application for a place in the school but she will have an interview with them in late January 2006 to finalize a scholarship.

In the meantime, the smart and very down to earth young Deanne is just enjoying spending time with her family and friends.

She plans to leave Tonga for the U.S.A. in January to have her interviews with the college but hopes to return home before moving to Illinois in August 2006 to begin her college education.

December 9, 2005

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