On Thursday, October 8, 2020, T.H. Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State attended the UNICEF COVID-19 Book Launch at the Nett Elementary School Gymnasium. The book, titled “The Virus-Stopping Champion: The Pacific Islands Edition” was produced in collaboration with UNICEF by NABU. NABU is a New York, USA based non-profit organization with a mission to “solve the imbalance in children’s book creation and distribution, so all children can read and rise to their full potential”.
Welcoming Governor Oliver to the book launch, was Mr. Cromwell Bacareza, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Micronesia, who presented a copy of the book to Governor Oliver before the beginning of the launch.
Nett Elementary School students took the lead as Masters and Mistresses of Ceremonies to carry out the program of events, starting with a prayer and the Pohnpei Anthem. Next, the Director of the Department of Education, Mr. Stanely Etse, gave his remarks. He thanked Chief Bacareza and his staff for arranging the book launch. Director Etse said he was proud to showcase the talents of Nett Elementary School students and staff, and was looking forward to the program. He was especially proud to see their organization and preparedness for this event.
UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Mr. Cromwell Bacareza, explained the role of UNICEF as an UN-mandated agency to protect the rights of Children. He asked three students what they wanted to be when they grew up and their responses ranged from Lawyer to Policeman to Doctor. Mr. Bacareza explained that they must be educated and healthy to achieve these goals and UNICEF’s mandate is to assist the Government to help children achieve these goals. He noted the important role of Children to combat COVID-19 and pledged to work with the Government to ensure that children are leading healthy, happy, and caring lives.
Governor Oliver congratulated the three children who shared their dreams and thanked Mr. Bacareza for his questions that brought back memories from his time as a schoolroom teacher at Nett Elementary School. He said that Pohnpei needs Doctors, Lawyers, and Policemen, and so many different occupations including Teachers, Engineers, Architects, also Farmers, and Fishermen. In explaining the importance of Farmers for food production he said that there is no job more important than the other, including the Governor. We all have responsibilities, he said, some are different than others, but they are all important. Governor Oliver also spoke of a student takeover day as an opportunity to inspire and motivate students to greater responsibilities.
Governor Oliver thanked UNICEF for the timely and creative release of “The Virus-Stopping Champion”, saying the book is a “creative way to engage our young children to be important messengers” to friends and family to teach basic prevention and proper hygiene practices. He encouraged students in Pohnpei and hopefully throughout the nation to please read the book, follow what it says “and let others know too because we all want to see our families stay safe and happy during this very challenging time.”
Before the end of the ceremony, Nett Elementary School students performed a skit “The Virus-Stopping Champion” to illustrate the importance of prevention, preparation, and awareness when dealing with COVID-19.