News Story

Liahona High School Students Popping with Business Ideas

Four students from Tonga’s Liahona High School are keeping their school’s entrepreneurial tradition alive ― by popping popcorn.

Elizabeth Ramsay, Carolyn Ita’aehau, Seini Vamanrav and Metui Tukuafu won this year’s Tonga Chamber of Commerce Youth in Business Challenge by making and selling $4,300 ($2,800NZD) worth of non-sticky caramel popcorn.

“We tried many recipes until we came up with the perfect one,” said Elizabeth Ramsay, financial manager for the group.

One of the prizes for winning the challenge was a trip to New Zealand to meet with other New Zealand and Pacific business students, as well as visit New Zealand businesses.

“A highlight of our trip to New Zealand was to meet with Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a member of the Area Presidency,” said Carolyn Ita’aehau, operations and production manager.   “He encouraged us to further our education, to write down our goals and to fulfil a mission for the Church.”

Elder Pearson told the young people, “We are so proud of you and the example you are to other students. Remember that whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

“The skills you have learned can be used throughout your life.  Continue to work hard to be able to understand your abilities and what your potential is.” 

Each year the Tonga Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Youth in Business Challenge.  Businesses in Tonga sponsor the youth program that has been held for the last four years.  

A member of the Chamber of Commerce meets with each of the high schools and invites the students to try out their skills to develop a business venture.  The students compete against other students from the high schools in Tonga.

“We worked well together because we have been friends for many years,” said Seini Vamanrav, marketing manager. “It was hard to run a business on top of school, family, and church obligations. These were busy times but the hard work was worth it.”

Miss Fifita Uipi, a business studies teacher at Liahona High School, said, “The team’s marketing, accounting and operational skills needed to be able to produce, market and sell their product.  The team worked together for four months to develop their plan.”

“There is no better feeling than achieving,” said Metui Tukuafu, the team’s IT manager.

The students were accompanied on their trip to New Zealand by Miss Uipi and Mrs Seionala Ramsay, a parent and chaperone.

The Liahona High School, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has won the competition three of the last four years.

Read more about the Church’s approach to education.



Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.