CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC (CSSP)
ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY
VENUE: AUSTRALIAN PACIFIC LECTURE THEATRE USP, LAUCALA CAMPUS

SATURDAY, 31ST, AUGUST 2019 2.00 PM
SALUTATION
 Secondary school students & teachers from around Fiji.
 USP Chemistry and Biology Staff members.
 Chemical Society of the South Pacific members and volunteers.
 Partners including Vodafone representative

 A very good afternoon to you all and I am absolutely delighted to be here with you not only as your chief guest but also as a former student in the field of sciences. I wish to thank the organizers of this event for the invitation and I must commend them for their efforts in organizing this competition.
 I understand that participants for this competition was selected after a series of preliminary rounds with over 4000 students throughout locations in Fiji and before me today are the very best OR shall I say, the best Chemistry students in Fiji! Congratulations for making it this far!
 The Chemical Society of the South Pacific has done a marvellous contribution to the region since 1985 and I applaud their continuing commitment in the general advancement of chemical science and its application to the South Pacific
Fellow students of science
 Chemistry is an ever growing science today! Understanding basic chemistry concepts is important for almost every profession. You will often hear your teachers say that Chemistry is part of everything in our lives! They are absolutely correct! Every material in existence is made up of matter — even our own bodies. Chemistry is involved in everything we do, from growing and cooking food to cleaning our homes and bodies to launching a space shuttle[1]. Chemistry is one of the physical sciences that help us to describe and explain our world.
 This competition has not only provided a competitive experience between the schools and students but you have made friends and you have broadened your horizons in the science of chemistry. What you have learnt and done over the past two and a half months will be an inspiration to aspiring science students. You have all come this far because you have put in a lot of time and effort in perfecting your understanding of the natural science that deals principally with the properties of substances, the changes they undergo, and the natural laws that describe these changes[2].
 And as the Minister of Health and Medical Services, I encourage you to maintain this competitive edge and pursuance of excellence throughout your life BUT best of all, be a lifelong learner in all the field of sciences.
 Our nation needs people who are exceptional in the fields of science such as chemistry. Advancements in the field of chemistry have brought about major improvements in our world. Improvements range from new medicines that cure disease, to new materials that make us safer and stronger, to new sources of energy that enable new activities.
 Let me remind you, that the ever changing world is throwing up challenges such as natural disasters, man-made disasters and the impacts of Climate Change. Bright minds like those of you here today will be needed to come up with innovative ideas and develop a future that is safe and sustainable for generations to come.
 That is one of the reasons why your Government of the day is investing a lot in your education through the Toppers and TELS scholarships. These scholarships are earmarked to support your transition from high school to tertiary education without putting a financial burden on your families. Importantly, the Toppers scholarship is intended to reward brilliant minds like you here today so that you can pursue your dream job and later on contribute to the development and advancement of our beloved nation.
 On that note, I must commend the teacher’s efforts and time invested in preparing Fiji’s future that is represented here today. Every successful person today can say that in their lifetime they were taught buy an awesome and wonderful teacher. Teachers, your commitment so that these schools and students can be represented today is acknowledged!
 To the sponsors and the Chemical Society of the South Pacific, please continue fostering and encouraging the growth and application of chemical science in Fiji and the South Pacific so that our region can also become a haven of knowledge in the field of sciences.
 To the participating schools and students! Winning or not does not define you or the school you represent, but the mere fact that you are here for the finals is testament of how hard you have prepared yourself. Whatever the outcome may be, please hold your head high and be proud of who you are and who you represent. Let this day be the beginning of your journey in seeking knowledge so that come next year you are better prepared for the competition.
 On that note I wish the students the very best in your exams for this final term of the year and I congratulate you again for making it to the finals!
Vinaka vakalevu

[1] Live Science, What is chemistry
[2] University of Idaho, What is Chemistry

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