The Seventh-day Adventist community on St. Eustatius had reason to celebrate and to give glory and honour to God as they witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of four additional classrooms, at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church School. The expansion is part of an ongoing program by the Dutch Kingdom Government to develop the physical infrastructure of the schools on the Dutch Caribbean island.
On hand to witness the occasion was the Director of Education of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Churches, Sister Gerene Joseph. Sister Joseph, who is on the island for another occasion, spoke excitedly about the event. 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 stating, “We are not just preparing our children to live in this world, but for the world to come.”
Pastor Virgil Sams also addressed the small gathering. He expressed his amazement at the development of the school, by referencing the beginning in 1997 – when the school was but an after-school program – to its present state. “I am looking forward to the day when the school will take the next step to become a secondary school,” stated Pastor Sams, while looking to the future.
The Principal of the School, Mrs. La Verne David-Duggins, highlighted the policy of the school to give God thanks, praise, and glory for everything that is done, achieved or received. She stated it is this attitude that enabled the school to achieve much. “We never start a meeting without prayer and when we close, we close with prayer because we understand; and, we instil in our students the importance of putting God first in everything,” stated Principal David.
After the brief ceremony, Director Gerene Joseph demonstrated her skills on the excavator by breaking the ground on her first attempt. The ceremony was witnessed by present and former staff of the Lynch Plantation SDA School – notably the retired principal, Sister Olive Berkel, and the Founder of the school, Mr. Ishmael Berkel. The builders, Mr. Jamie Lopes and Mr. Marlon Murray, also took part in the event. The press and the communication representative of the Dutch Kingdom Government were present to record and report the event.