Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Pohnpei Island Central School Gives Diplomas to 316 Seniors

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): June 12, 2009 - On Tuesday, June 9th 2009, Pohnpei Island Central School (PICS) held their graduation ceremony for the Graduating Class of 2009 at the PICS Track and Field in Dolonier Nett. Mr. Sonster Edgar was the Master of Ceremony. Reverend Ihlen Joseph gave the Invocation followed by the Pohnpei State Anthem, which was sung by the graduating class and the audience with the State Police raising the colors (flags). This was followed by welcoming remarks from PTA President, Reverend Henry Wilson, a song sung by the Class of 2009, and the Salutatorian Address by Ms. Angie Joab.

The graduation Keynote Speaker was President Manny Mori, who's remarks focused on encouraging the graduates to chart a course of excellence that will drive Pohnpei and the Federated States of Micronesia towards a brighter future and on the state of education in the FSM. The President told the graduates that, "Education is indeed the foundation upon which to build a nation. It is the cement and underpinning of a developing country such as ours. Ultimately, it is the mechanism by which we will distinguish ourselves in the domestic, regional and international arenas. And it is the heart of a strong economy that will ensure a vibrant quality of life for our people in the coming decades."

President Mori congratulated the graduates on the selection of their theme which was, "Each of us has different talents, dreams and destinations; but we all have the same power to make a new tomorrow," and explained that as the graduates take their unique talents and dreams towards their ultimate destination, it will be easy to become sidetracked from their original plan. He spoke briefly on the national government's actions to strengthen current programs, to develop new programs, and to identify all available funding to help the graduates with their post-high school futures.

The President said that "We (the FSM National Government) recognize that you and your families do not have the financial resources to allow you to achieve all of your goals. We are therefore working to identify all possible funding sources for scholarships to assist you in your journey. In addition to the $350,000 generously appropriated by our 15th FSM Congress to support your state scholarship programs, I am requesting that the Congress work with me to identify an additional $350,000 in the 2010 budget."

He further explained that this scholarship money is augmented through the "sin tax scholarship" which is earmarked under our tax laws for graduate scholarships. He highlighted the assistance from the government of Australia for committing $1 million dollars in scholarships for Micronesians students and also spoke about the government of the People's Republic of China making available over 200 short-term and long-term training and scholarship programs at Chinese educational institutions.

President Mori also reviewed the state of education in the FSM by quoting statistics on the status of certain issues of education in the states and said, "Our schools are simply not performing at the level that is necessary to provide you, our children, with these necessary tools to compete in the local and especially in the international market place." He stated that 34% of our teachers (nationwide) still do not have degrees and only 10% of the high school students who passed the COM entrance exam passed the placement tests at COM-FSM, allowing them to move on to advanced courses at the COM national campus. This means that the remaining 90% must go through remedial courses for period of 2 to 3 years. He also pointed out that only 4% of FSM junior college students advanced to four year colleges. With this, President Mori renewed his commitment to work with other leaders to transform COM-FSM into a four year college so that more students will ultimately graduate with a 4-year degree.

The President asked the graduates and their parents to make a commitment to have these graduates finish a four year degree before they get married. With a sign of applause, both the graduates and their parents confirmed that they would strive for this goal.

The President concluded that the statistics prove that our number one national priority must continue to be the improvement of our educational system from top to bottom at both the national and the state levels. He said that to accomplish this, "we must pay greater attention to the strengthening and refinement of our national and state educational and development targets." And finally, he ended by saying, "Let it never be said that we failed to provide the opportunities for education and improvement that would make our nation great."

Following the Presidetnt's Keynote Address, the Class of 2009 sang another song, the Valedictorian, Mr. Lanze Edward, gave his speech and the graduates stood for presentation. After some awards and recognitions for students, the Chief of Secondary, Mr. Solpisio Salvador, gave the closing remarks and Reverend Bender Enicar gave the final benediction.

FSMPIO has videotaped the ceremony and it will be played on ICTV in Pohnpei State. A copy of President Mori's full address can be viewed on the PIO website at http://www.fsmpio.fm/Speeches/mori/PICS_GRADUATION.pdf


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/