Mamarapha College held its graduation on November 19, 2022, celebrating the achievements of nearly 30 students. Held at Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church in Western Australia, the afternoon service saw 13 students receive a certificate, diplomas, or advanced diplomas, and 15 students receive progression awards.
The ceremony included a welcome to country by national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) director Darren Garlett, a keynote address from Australian Union Conference (AUC) president Terry Johnson, and a student charge led by Livingston church pastor Andrew Skeggs.
“Our students come from diverse backgrounds and remote communities with constant challenges, and for some, even just getting to the college is an ordeal,” Mamarapha principal David Garrard said. “So, it’s really encouraging to see those students completing the course.”
The Mamarapha graduation was the final event in a two-week graduation study block themed as “More than Conquerors.” Each day during the study block the students would spend time learning about God’s grace during the morning worships. At the end of the first week, on Friday night, the students retraced Jesus Christ’s final hours, spending time in prayer and repentance. A special service on November 12 featured an Agape Feast to begin the final week of the study block.
While the end-of-year spiritual and academic emphasis is a highlight for Mamarapha, there is also excitement over the AU$2.2 million (about US$1.5 million) upgrades the school has received. The building project, which was launched in May 2022, features new classrooms, a computer lab, student area, and extra office space additions to the administration block, and is due to be completed in January 2023 — just in time for the incoming class.
As for the graduating class, many of the students say they are excited about their next steps. Those who graduate with diplomas usually become senior leaders within their churches, taking on significant roles and responsibilities. Those graduating with advanced diplomas in ministry are very often employed by local conferences — one student has been picked up by the North New South Wales Conference, while another will soon join the Greater Sydney Conference.
“[Student] numbers are still down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have still had a really good year,” Garrard said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but to have students publicly affirm and acknowledge the enormous effort our staff put into helping them in their spiritual and academic journey, that makes it all worth it.”