Monday, May 30, 2011

Graduation Speech

Graduation ceremonies for Lukop Elementary took place on May 27, 2011. This year my eighth graders asked me to say a few words for the occasion. This was lucky for me because I love them a lot, and I had plenty to say (10 minutes worth!).

[Video Here!]

The text of what I said is below. The first Pohnpeian part is just the introduction, acknowledgment of high titles, etc. Then there's my speech in English and the Pohnpeian translation (translated by my principal and practiced together ... aww, bonding!). Lastly is a surprise presentation of Math Olympiad certificates the principal asked me to do.


Kalahngan menindei,
Thank you, MC.

Kaselehlieh mainkoa,
Hello everyone,

Mwohn meh koaros ei tungoal sakaradahn wahu pahn kupwuren samatail koht, wauniki lukodo koaros nan palien tiahk, mwomwohdiso oh government.
Before everything, I want to give thanks to God and pay respect to the traditional and government leaders present.

Kumwail ketin kupwureie,
[I'm not actually sure what this means ... Principal just told me that people say it.]

Mwurin ansou kis, irail me kesepwil kan pahn patohwan arail tungoal kisin likoun kadehdeh me re neksangehr rahnwet. Ahpw mowe I pahn ekis patohieng ihr ni wai ah mwuri I pahn kawehweh ni lokaiahn Pohnpei.
In a little while, the graduates will receive their diplomas. But first I will say a few words in English and translate them into Pohnpeian.

To the Class of 2011, My Very Dear Friends,

Our time together in the classroom at Lukop Elementary School is now over. However, I still have time for one last vocabulary lesson:

In English we have two words for this kind of ceremony. One is graduation, and the other is commencement. “Graduation” means moving on from one thing to something higher, and “commencement” means “a beginning.” Neither word means “the end.” We use these words at graduations because today we are not only celebrating the things you have achieved in the past (“past tense”), but we are also celebrating all the possible things you will accomplish in the future (“future tense”).

So although my time as your teacher is over, I stand here to praise what wonderful students you are and to celebrate the exceptional graduates you will become. In the last 18 months, I have seen each of you grow in confidence and find your voice. You were quiet and shy, and now you stand in front of your families to give speeches and sing songs. You were academically unsure, but you showed dedication to your studies. Now each of you has passed the test and will go to high school next year. Each and every one of you has a bright future.

This November, I, too, will celebrate a commencement – I will go back home to start the rest of my life in America. Like you, and because of you, I have grown a lot in the last 18 months. You have changed my life. I taught you some grammar and a few silly songs, but you taught me how to work together, how to support one another, and how important family is. Thank you for being my family here. I have been blessed to be a part of your present. I will continue to cheer for you as you commence your life as elementary school graduates. Through hard work you have the potential to change your world for the better. Although I won’t be on Pohnpei anymore, I am so excited to see what you will do and what you will be.

Congratulations to the Graduates!

[Translation of the English above]
Ong kumwail me kesepwil kan,

Atail ansoupene nan perehn sukuhl nan Lukop Elem. School e nekier. Ahpw, ansouet ahi ansoun kasukuhlihkin kumwail keimwseklahn lepin lokaia riau.

Lepin lokaia riau kin doadoahk ni lokaiahn wai ong soangen kasarawiet. Ehu iei graduation, ah ehu commencement.

Graduation wehwehki kosousang ehu dake kosoudalahng ehu dake me ilehsang.

Commencement wehwehki tapiada de tepda. Sohte ehu rehn lepin lokaia riauet me wehwehki nekier de imwseklahr.

Lepin lokaia riauet kin doadoahk ni kesepwil, pwe kitail sohte kasarawih pweidah kan me ke wiadahr de ke kanekelahr ahpw kitail pil kasarawih pweidahkan me ke pahn wia ni ansou me pahn kohdo mwuhr kan.

Eri, I solahr wia amwail sounpadahk, ahpw I patohda mwohmwail ansoukiset pwe ien kepinga uen amwail wia tohnsukuhl mwahukei, oh pil pahn wiahla aramas pweidahkei ehu rahn. Nan erein sounpwong 18 me neklahr, I kilangehr emen emen kumwail eh keirda ni koapwoaropwor, oh saledek. Mahs kumwail me nenen oh namenek ah met kumwail kakehr kesihkerda mwohn peneinei oh koul oh kapahrek. Kumwail sohte nohk ahniki koapwoaroapwoar ahpw sang ni amwail ngoang oh tohnmetei kumwail koaros pil pahsehr des en high school oh pahn karadahr nan high school pahr kohkohdoh. Kumwail koaros pahn pweida nan amwail ouremen.

Nan nohpempehn pahret, I pil pahn duehte kumwail me pahn tapiade ahi mour nan ahi wasa nan wein America. Duei kumwail oh pwehki kumwail, soahng tohto I koledi nan erein sounpwong 18 me neklahr. Kumwail inenen wekedala eimour. I padahkieng kumwail lokaiahn wai oh koul en wai, ah kumwail padahkihengie duen doadoahkpene, sawaspene oh kesempwalpen peneinei. Kalahngan en kumwail pwehki amwail wiahkinie kisehn amwail peneinei. I inenen pahiamwahu pwehki atail patpene, ahi sawas sohte pahn tokedi sang mahs leledo met oh pil pahn kohkohlahte. Ma kumwail pahn nantiheng amwail sukuhl oh doadoahk kumwail kak kamwahuiala amwail wasahn kousoanakan.

I solahr pahn mi pohnpei ahpw I udahn pereniki kilang de rong dahme kumwail pahn wia oh dahme kumwail pahn wiahla ehu rahn.

Congradulations ong kumwail me kesepwil kan oh ni wahu, kalahngan en kupwuramwail koaros.

Ansoukiset, I pahn patohwen weliandi ohpis ahpw mehlel principal oh patohwanda kisinlikoun kaping de certificate riau ong tohn sukuhl riemen me iangehr towehda Math Olympiad de siai en wahntuhke ong pwihn kawalou me wiawi ni May 12 en pahr wet.)
Now I will represent the office and the principal in presenting these two certificates to two students who competed in the 8th grade Math Olympiad on May 12 this year.

Eri en kak sanasal me ira riemen pwukat iang alehdi nempe siluh nan Pohnpei.
These two students placed third in Pohnpei.

Eri tohnsukuhl riemen pwukat iei
The two students are:

1. Ivan Jerome Usiel
[The class' valedictorian]
2. Michelle Olter
[The class' saluditorian ... and the principal's daughter!]

I men peki kitail koaros en ketkihiengira ehu lapalahn lopwolopw.
I ask everyone to give them a big round of applause!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Standing on their shoulders

Two of my closest friends on Pohnpei recently wrote different takes on the duality inherent in our island life. I think their work is brilliant, and I think it can stand for itself. I'd also like to point out how lucky I am to have these friends.

So, thank you very much, Cori Jo and Suze.

Love to you all!

PS: Congratulations to my brother EJ, the law school graduate!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Activities


A lot of interesting things happened in April, especially at the end of the month. I thought I'd mention a few. It couldn't hurt, right?

School went along swimmingly. We ran an after school library, to the students' enjoyment and the paperback books' rapid deterioration (it's humid here!). I finally got back out on a boat to go to a small picnic island/islet called Nahlap. And then I got on a boat again to go to a snorkeling place called Manta Row ... at which I ACTUALLY swam with enormous manta rays! Back at the homestay, I witnessed my first pig birth (slippery) and survived a toddler relative accidentally getting into my room and trashing a lot of stuff (emotional but good ... can post on that in more detail later).

And then there were a lot of photo opportunities.

In honor of Easter I went muumuu shopping with my friend Cori Jo. On actual Easter, I went to church with my family. (Nohno Melihper and I are pictured below.)

On the last Wednesday in April I participated in the Education USA College Fair, an event for students on Pohnpei interested in pursuing higher education in the States. I sat at a table with a homemade Harvard sign and talked a lot about wonderful opportunities and ridiculously generous financial aid packages. By the end of the day I was feeling quite nostalgic.

Two days after that, Lukop Elementary School built an Earth Day Garden with US Embassy and USDA. We were a week late because Earth Day fell on Good Friday this year, and religion trumps international environmentalism any day of the week in Pohnpei. But we enjoyed a nice afternoon reflecting on how to be better caretakers of our world, and we learned how to use both chicken AND pig manure in rows and raised bed gardening! We planted cabbage at the school (a week later the little green shoots are already up!), and each student got to take home a citrus seedling to plant and tend at his/her home. Thanks to Michaela Corr of the US Embassy of FSM for coordinating this event!

Later that evening, we had a sillier photo op/publicity moment at our Princess Party in honor of the Royal Wedding. Aside from making it onto CNN, I was most proud of the pillbox hat I had fashioned out of construction paper and paperclips.

Things to look forward to in May include graduations and celebrations of all sorts. I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Much love,