“The Headteacher Mr Dutt, Teachers of this school, Children, Parents and friends…
I am delighted to be your chief guest for this, the annual Prizegiving ceremony for St. Mary’s School.
I speak to you this morning as chairman of our Anglican schools in Vanualevu, and as manager of this school.
St. Marys school was built by the Anglican Church in 1927, some 41 years ago, and was first staffed by missionaries from abroad.
Initially, it was to serve as a school for a handful of young students, but today as you can witness, it now has a roll close to 800 students…with an additional kindergarten attached, that opened its doors for classes in 2017.
Our kindergarten is now the feeder institute for St. Mary’s Primary School.
Yesterday we celebrated the 2nd graduation of our kindergarten, and as the policy of our church and this school, our young graduates from our kindergarten are given first priority to enter class one at this school.
St. Marys school, through its ideal situation has children of civil servants, factories, and the greater business area here in Labasa.
Over the years, we have had increasing demands for places at St. Marys, and in the process we have had to sacrifice three rooms to accommodate the demands of our parents.
This sacrifice has now left us without a staffroom, computer room, and library and as Chairman and manager of this school I sincerely apologise to both the teachers and students.
However, the management of this school has agreed that we in the new year, 2019… appeal to you as parents to come together with us in some kind of fundraising drive to be determined… to raise funds to build these much needed replacement facilities and rooms .…
We cannot do it alone and need your timely help.
Plans for a 9 classroom block has already been submitted to the Minister for Education and Economy but to date there has not been any response.
Perhaps, the return of the FFP is that blessing in disguise and our wish will be granted.
This 9 classroom block is to replace classrooms that need to be removed as this area has now been rezoned as commercial…
The church has offered St. Marys hostel to be renovated and turned into classrooms for the new year but we also need to clear the area between this school and the hostel to make it accessible and safe for our children…we need someone to volunteer a machine to do the job for us as our funds are very limited.
Christian education is part of the curriculum of this school where children are taught basic christian morals and values to allow them to study and later on work side by side with those around them.
Understanding each others language is very important and apart from Hindi and Fijian, the school board now also allows Urdu to be taught as an added language. Not many schools in the greater Labasa area allows Urdu to be taught in their schools.
Every parent here has made the choice to be part of this institution and remains part of our Family, and where possible we need your advice and support.
Today, a number of young and enthusiastic graduates will be leaving us to pursue higher academic learning at secondary schools.
To our Year Eight leavers seated in front of us today – we are very proud of each and everyone of you.
Some of you have been with us since you were five or six years old, while some of you have come to us part way through your primary school career.
But you have all settled in well.
And now were are here today to farewell you at the end of your primary school days where most of you have given your best.
I hope that this determination to be the best that you can be, continues on with you all as you progress through your high school years and later in your life.
You are ready for the next step. I ask you as you prepare for this next step to do a few things.
First, I ask you to take this chance to dedicate yourself to making the next year even better.
Remember that you don’t have to follow the crowd.
Do the right thing, even if no one is looking.
Study hard and remember that you’re investing in yourself.
And finally, don’t be in too big of a hurry to grow up. These are some great times in your life. Don’t rush past them.
There are great things coming, and just as your parents are proud, each one of you should also feel proud of yourself.
So congratulations to all of our year eight school leavers, congratulations to the parents, and finally, congrats to the teachers and everyone else who helped our graduates reach here today.
We want them to leave us with the knowledge, strength and conviction to not only be the best they can be, but also become decent, kind and honourable people who we are extremely proud of and we wish them well in their new endeavors.
To the headteacher and staff…..St. Marys Primary School is one if not the best school in this area….
I plead with you to maintain or even better the quality of education for our children of Labasa in this school, and remain firm in the challenge…
To the parents….we cannot work in isolation…..we need your support and involvement also.
The PTA for this school will be revived in the new year and we look forward to your representative on the board for 2019…
Let us work together, and through the grace of God, all things will be possible…”