SCHOOLS throughout the country paid tribute to the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare by holding various activities this month.
In Gazelle, local MP Jelta Wong commended schools in his electorate that had taken the initiative to organise programmes to pay tribute to Sir Michael.
Schools in Gazelle’s five local level governments (LLGs) took part in solemn marches, moments of silence, wreath and flower laying, flags flying at half-mast and stages decorated with late Sir Michael’s photos.
The students also heard brief histories of the numerous achievements and the traits of late Sir Michael. Students, teachers and parents dressed in black.
Some schools also performed the traditional tolai customary event “Kututabu” or breaking of shell money to share among themselves.
On March 12, at Lungalunga and Vundavai Primary Schools in Livuan Reimber LLG, students were told that the late Sir Michael was a
God-fearing leader that led this nation according to God’s will.
Wong said it was heartwarming to see the younger generation keen and eager to learn about the history of the country’s national icon.
“Let us be good role models and leaders in our homes and communities, like how the late Grand Chief Sir Michael lived his life,” he said.
At the Vunapope Secret Heart International Primary School, students in Kokopo, East New Britain (ENB), performed a tolai ceremony of shell money distribution as part of their tribute.
School principal Barnabas Tobata said he knew Sir Michael when he was teaching at his home province of New Ireland when he was student at a nearby primary school near Utu High School.
The Romens Grammar School in Kokopo marched from Tokua Airport to the school grounds to show their respect.
School administrator Mary Romens Julai said, they chose to come to the Tokua Airport to bid farewell to Sir Michael because the airport was official opened by him in 1984.
In Morobe, the Lae School of Nursing held a ceremony led by long time lecturer Elias MacNell to remember Sir Michael.
Also in Lae, the board of management, staff and students of Sir Michael’s former school, Dregerhafen Secondary School in Finschhafen, Morobe, and Evangelical Lutheran Jabem Gejamsao (women) paid tribute to the founding father of nation.
At Grace Memorial Secondary School in Wau town, Bulolo, Morobe, students dressed in black to show their sorrow as they marched around the mining township.
School principal Zukua Koita said Sir Michael left behind a lasting legacy for other leaders and the people to treasure for many years to come.
Students from Bowali and Buimo Road primary schools, together with teachers, parents and citizens all dressed in black and paid their last respects.
In Madang, the Ramu Sugar community gathered at the Ramu Valley High School with the students to remember Sir Michael.
At Henganofi Secondary School in Eastern Highlands, students and teachers read poems.