To mark a new phase in its infrastructure development, the St. Eustatius Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) School invited leaders from the Dutch government, stakeholders from the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) and the Caribbean Union Conference, the school’s governing board, staff, students, parents and supporters from the St. Eustatius community to a historic dedication ceremony. The state-of-the-art learning facility was renovated and now includes a new wing and a fully equipped outdoor recreation center.
The government was represented by Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Stegers, who acknowledged the government’s generous gifts to the educational project, pledged the government’s continued support for the institution, and announced that the ministry will also finance the renovation of additional outdoor areas of the school.
The North Caribbean Conference representatives included the President, Pastor Desmond James; the Stewardship Director, Pastor Hesketh Matthew; and, the Education Director, Mrs. Gerene Joseph. In his address, Pastor Desmond James stated, “Christian education is one [leg] of the three-legged stool to train our young people and modern facilities help to provide great opportunities. But a building, alone, cannot help with the training of a child. It takes all of us.” His timely remarks resonated with attendees as several community leaders, on the island, are alumni of the school.
During the symbolic ribbon cutting segment, Mrs. Joseph emphasized, “This is not just another [institution]. This is a transformational facility intended to produce well-rounded individuals.” Quoting from verse 1 of the 127th division of the Psalms, she emphasized how vain it is to build anything without God. She applauded the foresight of those who thought it necessary to invest in the development of young minds. She also reiterated the value of Christian education, “We are not just preparing our children to live in this world, but for the world to come.”
The Stewardship Director of the Caribbean Union Conference, Dr. Gandalal Samlalsingh, commended the institution for being an example of how a school should look and added, “It is here to prepare young men and women to take responsible positions not only in St. Eustatius but around the world.”
Both church and government officials are pleased with the role of the SDA Christian education in the community. The evident growth of the institution spurred the government to make substantial investments toward creating a wholesome environment for learning.
Pastor James shared his delight regarding the investment that transformed the school into a wonderful edifice and pledged, “We are the ones who will determine the quality of our schools. Education takes the biggest slice of the cake in the North Caribbean Conference. But we will set the spiritual tone and we will never waver in our resolve that while we prepare our students to face the world, we will prepare them for eternity.”
The Chairman of the School’s Board, Pastor Earl Esdaile, refocused attention to the beneficence of God and stated that while they are grateful for the contribution of the Dutch government there is still the consciousness that it has all occurred because of the goodness of God.
The officials of the School’s Board recognized Ishmael Berker and Vera Spellman for their consistent contributions to the development of the school. During the 1980’s, Mr. Berkel was the Education Secretary of the St. Eustatius SDA Church and successfully motivated members to embrace the principles of Christian education and support the school.
The St. Eustatius SDA School, located at Lynch Plantation, has been rededicated to serve the community of St. Eustatius.