The four schools that are currently in the MES school program for Term two celebrated World Environment Day and World Oceans Day.
World Environment Day was celebrated with the theme “Raise your Voice, not the Sea level” and World Oceans Day was celebrated with the theme “Together we have the power to Protect the Ocean”.
Ratu Nemani Memorial School and Nabila Public School held celebrations on Wednesday 4th June. TA Learning Center marked the event on 5th June followed by Vuda District School on 7th June. Each school celebrated the event at their own respective schools. MES staff and Volunteers along with the help of the teachers facilitated the program that was prepared for the day. The program prepared was for a half a day which was then replicated in the four schools.
The program began at nine o’clock, by which time all the students are usually seated at the assembly area and singing.
At Ratu Nemani Memorial School, when the MES team arrived there, the sound of an archaic song which is normally termed “vucu ni vanua” in Fijian could be heard from the school hall sung melodiously by a group of young male students to the tune of a slow strummed guitar.
In Vuda District School similar scene only different tune, the students were singing along to several gospel choruses. The lively singing by the students somewhat established the atmosphere for the days celebration. Upon request by the head teacher the students sang a last number before the program proper. A welcome speech by the head teacher was first on the program; the head teachers also took the onus of reminding the students of the importance of marking these two events on our Environment calendar.
At Vuda District school the program proper began with the flag raising ceremony conducted by the students followed by the usual protocol, the singing of the national anthem. It was the first time I heard the Fiji national anthem sung in three languages; Fijian, English and Hindustani.
After the introductions and speech by the head teacher, it was time for a power point presentation by MES.
The PowerPoint presentation highlighted the importance of Environment and Ocean, their significant life supporting roles, and the threats they face. The students were intrigued to find the many roles the ocean play, most importantly the transportation of the many things the students use in their classrooms; from school stationery, the uniforms they wear, to even the small buttons on their shirt, which all at one time crossed the ocean, be it raw materials or ready made products.
The students became even more enthralled to find the many negative impacts caused by us humans to the environment and ocean. The students were encouraged to thrive for positive action for the environment and ocean, and were reminded that no matter how little the action may be, combine that with their school mates action, their school positive action and even their families, they will definitely create a wave of change.
At the end of the presentation the students were then dispersed to their working stations. Unlike the previous years, the students were given a week to prepare for the competitions, which mostly include poster competitions, poetry and drama competitions. This year the competitions were done on the day, and students took part in coloring competitions, comprehension exercises based on turtle life cycle, picture sequencing and word search also based on turtle life cycle and impromptu poetry recital for the senior classes.
All these activities were allocated 30 minutes to be completed. At the end of the 30 minutes, the program facilitators moved through each working station to judge and pick the winners from each category. At the completion of the judging, the students’ then re- assembled at the assembly area for the awarding of the prizes to the competition winners. Ratu Nemani Memorial School given its small school roll, the senior students were able to recite their poem in front of the whole school, Vuda District however were judged at their own work stations. The cheerfulness of the students upon one of their own walking up to the stage to receive a prize was overwhelming as they clapped and cheered for their fellow student.
The day culminated with the students engaging in a clean up of their school compound, with the garbage bags and gloves provided by MES.
The program ended with the students sharing a light refreshment of assorted fruits and juice. MES would like to thank Ratu Nemani Memorial School, Nabila Public School, TA Learning Center and Vuda District School for taking the time out from their normal classes to mark two important events on the Environment calendar and create a wave of change for our Environment and our Ocean. Vina du riki!