February 28, 2014

​Jamaica Education Minister Lauds Adventist Schools

Story and Photos by Phillip E.L. Castell

Jamaica Education Minister Ronald Thwaites lauded
the Adventist Church for the role it continues to play in educating the
nation's children. He spoke highly of the achievements of the Hagley Park
Preparatory School (HPPS) at the launch of the school's 60th anniversary
celebrations on February 15.

"I congratulate the Seventh-day Adventist
Church for your instrumentality in providing the opportunity for children to
get a good education," Thwaites said, while bringing greetings to the
school on behalf of his ministry.

Thwaites, a Roman Catholic, highlighted the
importance of spiritual nurturing for the success of schools and indicated that
his ministry was aware of the importance of this relationship for success in

"The ministry of education, and certainly
during my tenure, has always maintained that the church is integral to the
education process and the governing of our schools," the Minister said.

Making reference to the recent Grade Six
Achievement Test (GSAT) passes from preparatory and primary schools which was
in the news, the education minister announced that the Hagley Park Prep. School
had done well and was listed in the top 100 schools across the island in GSAT

Celebrating under the theme, "Recalling the
Past, Embracing the Present, Claiming the Future with Christ", school
officials gave God thanks for leading them on their journey which began in 1954
with just seven (7) students.

The divine service message was presented by
Pastor Errol Thomas, a veteran education director for the church, who spoke
highly of Adventist Christian education.
"Our schools are called upon to
fulfill the mission of Christian education for the total and complete
development of the student for their best good," Pastor Thomas said.

Reviewing the academic achievements of the Hagley
Park Prep. School, Thomas revealed that in 2010, the school received a 74
percent pass rate in GSAT examinations. In 2011 the school achieved 79 percent
passes. In 2012 the school again bettered the previous year's performance with
81 percent passes and in 2013 that performance was again topped with 86 percent

Thomas mentioned the schools quarter finals
placement in the TVJ's Junior School Challenge Quiz 2013 play off and was proud
to remind the congregation that of the four consecutive years that the school
had entered the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Children's
Gospel Competition Ages 6 - 10 category, that they had emerged winners in 2010,
2011 and 2012.

HPPS Principal Elyn Spence who extended the
general welcome remembered the work of those who contributed to the school’s development.
She recognized Louise Mignotte-Martin, Vera Holmes, Juliet Scott, three past
principals who participated in the "Parade of the Decades" along with
past and present teachers, students, and parents.

"We believe that it has been an outstanding
journey," Spence said, "marked with momentous landmarks of growth and
consolidation, of battles fought and victories won. The school has had Jesus,
the master teacher on board all the way."

HPPS, which started in 1954 with seven students, today
has 330 students.