Betikama Adventist College celebrates 75th anniversary amid weather challenges

Betikama classes of the 1980s.

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Despite weather disruptions, Betikama Adventist College in the Solomon Islands celebrated its 75th anniversary with several events from November 9 to 12.

The celebration started with a convoy from Honiara to the college, featuring trucks decorated with balloons and filled with former students from various decades, all dressed in different coloured t-shirts.

At the college, alumni from different eras, both local and expatriate, mingled and reconnected. The event saw a symbolic torch relay led by past principals, culminating in the lighting of a main flare by current principal Bevan Tutua.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare—a former Betikama student—gave the opening address. Notably, four former students of Betikama have served as the country’s prime minister.

With the rain intensifying on Friday, plans had to be adapted. Betikama was flooded by Sabbath morning, moving the celebration to two different locations. “No vehicle could turn into Betikama’s road as the water was waist deep,” said Jennifer Steley, a former teacher from the 1970’s who was at the event.

“It was disappointing, but the organisers quickly implemented a plan B now dual celebrations. One large group met in the main Honiara church at Kukum for their Sabbath services, while those in the vicinity could attend Betikama. The organisers did a fantastic job considering the disruption caused by the bad weather,” said Mrs Steley.

By mid-Sunday, conditions improved, allowing for a march past of various class groups and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. This plaque, revealed by Mrs Steley and Pastor Titus Rore, the first Solomon Islander principal, celebrated both local and international contributions to the college since its start in 1948. The day also saw the planting of celebration trees around the campus.

The afternoon featured a unique “Restitution” session, where untold stories were shared with humour and the day concluded with singing.

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