SOLOMON ISLANDS PM SOGAVARE

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BETIKAMA ADVENTIST COLLEGE Honiara, Solomon Islands

November 20, 2000

ATTENDS BETIKAMA ADVENTIST COLLEGE GRADUATION

Story by Patrick Pikacha

Betikama Adventist College, Honiara had its form 6 graduation on Sunday, November 19th.

It was another well-organized formal celebration of the institution’s academic achievements.

During the introduction the deputy principal reflected on the past seventeen years since Betikama Adventist College began its form 6 program. Since the inception of form 6 seventeen years ago, Betikama has continued to produce some of the country’s well known and respected professional men and women. It is a well-established center for Christian education and service.

This year the school was badly affected by the tension. Of a total student enrollment of 450 students at the beginning of the year, only 257 students returned for the second semester to complete the year.

The form 6 class was also badly affected. Form six has two streams, the humanities (arts) and the sciences. To start with there was a total of 57 students in form 6, where 32 were in arts and 25 in science. During the tension 22 students failed to return, either moving to other provinces to continue their studies, or deferring until next year. Of the remaining form 6 students, 13 were in science, and 22 in arts.

The tension had also reduced the number of teachers, which was especially felt by form 6. However, thanks to the support and dedicated assistance of certain individuals who stepped in to fill the vacuum, form 6 was able to meet its objectives and complete the academic year.

The guest speaker at the graduation was the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare. He commended the teachers and staff on their continued diligent effort despite the ethnic tension - which he termed as "the darkest period in the country’s history." He also reflected on his time at Betikama, and the Christian attitude and motivation that his teachers displayed, which played an important role in his determination to succeed. The Prime Minister also covered leadership qualities, and encouraged the graduating class in their later pursuits. For him, this occasion was also personal as his daughter was graduating.

Time was also given to other speakers - the president of the Western Pacific Union Mission and the school principal. These men had just returned from meetings in Fiji.

During his stay there, the principal had the chance to meet up with former students of the college studying at USP and the medical school. In his remarks he encouraged the graduating class in their future endeavors to have goals and aim high.

Betikama Adventist College continues to be an outstanding education institution in the country providing Christian education for all, and helping build moral and spiritual lives of young people.

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