Mountain View Adventist College (Doonside, NSW) celebrated its 50th anniversary with past and present staff, students and principals gathering at the western Sydney school on May 25 to mark the significant milestone.
Blacktown Mayor Steven Bali and Adventist Education national director Dr Daryl Murdoch unveiled a commemorative plaque and honoured the commitment and achievements of staff and students of Mountain View.
“Mountain View Adventist College is doing an amazing job serving their community,” said Dr Murdoch. “The school is highly respected as a caring and nurturing school that is dedicated to helping all children succeed.”
In his opening remarks Pastor Pablo Lillo, who studied at the college in the mid-1970s, quoted Nelson Mandela: “Every generation has an opportunity to achieve greatness, you can be that generation. What counts is the difference we make to the lives of others, that determines the significance of the life we lived.”
John Venegas, who represented students from the 1980s said, “God was the heartbeat and living water that flowed through the corridors and mouths of the teachers.” Other speakers echoed the sense of community with students from a diverse array of backgrounds and cultures attending the school.
“The sacrifice of pioneer families and their commitment to ensuring their children had access to Adventist education was humbling,” said Dr Murdoch.
Dr Jean Carter, Education director for the Greater Sydney Conference, agreed. “The celebration was a reminder of where God has led in the past and will continue to lead us into the future.”
Stories were shared by students who have been challenged by the Duke of Edinburgh program since the 1990s, testing their resilience and finding their voice for justice and service in places like Vanuatu, Fiji and around Australia.
Interlaced with the history and stories, a series of musical items from students, teachers and principals past and present, were highlights of the event that concluded with cutting an anniversary cake.
“The commitment of Jenny Gibbons as the college’s longest serving principal needs to be highlighted,” added Dr Murdoch. “Her drive, dedication and love for school families has seen the school flourish in terms of enrolment growth and new facilities. However, more importantly the college has developed a culture of excellence and fidelity to mission.”
John Eastwood, who has seen the school grow from its humble two classroom beginning to the modern pre-kindy to Year 12 college it is today, and whom the school hall is named after, was also in attendance.
Mountain View Adventist College has a number of multi-generational families who were students, as well as some past students who have been inspired to pursue a career in teaching among the current staff.
Current college principal Julia Heise said her team were blessed to be able to continue God’s work at the school and are excited to see what the future holds for Mountain View Adventist College over the next 50 years.