School partnership strengthened during Week of Worship

Wahroonga School chaplains Pastor Nick Kross Jr, Renee Vaovasa and Justin Boyd with Vatuvonu College chaplain Michael Qiotaka.

Keep family and friends informed by sharing this article.

A recent Week of Worship (WOW) at Wahroonga Adventist School (NSW) contributed to the spiritual lives of primary students while strengthening the growing partnership between Wahroonga and Vatuvonu Adventist College, Fiji.

Vatuvonu chaplain Michael Qiotaka was the main speaker at the event, held from June 24 to 28. Year Six students actively participated in various aspects of the event, from media and stage setup to drama, providing a new experience for Mr Qiotaka, who noted the differences from his home school in Fiji.

“It’s so amazing to see the kids participating in every aspect. Coming from Fiji, we don’t usually allow kids to play with equipment and things like that. So it’s a new learning environment for me and I’ve enjoyed working with these beautiful young people,” said Mr Qiotaka.

Themed “The Search for the Rebel Planet”, the special week took students on a journey through space that explored the story of sin and redemption. “The climax of this journey is Jesus seeking the rebel planet, which represents Earth, full of sin. We explored how Jesus’ sacrifice on Mount Calvary offers the gift of eternal life,” explained Mr Qiotaka.

The partnership between the two schools began with Wahroonga students visiting Vatuvonu for mission trips. In September 2023, Year 11 students from Wahroonga fundraised and travelled to Vatuvonu, where they renovated the boys’ and girls’ dormitories and participated in a WOW led by Mr Qiotaka. They also installed rainwater tanks and carried out other improvement projects.

During the mission trip, the group also identified the school’s main needs based on feedback from Vatuvonu students, leading Wahroonga to donate 30 laptops to Vatuvonu. The initial batch of three laptops has already made a difference—“they’ve been quite beneficial for our academic programs,” said Mr Qiotaka, who took more laptops with him at the end of WOW.

In September this year, another group of Year 11 students from Wahroonga will visit Vatuvonu, continuing the tradition of mutual support and cultural exchange. “We are returning to help with another Week of Worship and other projects,” said Wahroonga chaplain Justin Boyd

For Mr Qiotaka, the partnership has been very beneficial for both schools, “I would say the biggest benefit that we’ve had so far from our sister school was the support in terms of school stationaries, and even them coming in person to Vatuvonu speaks a lot of this partnership.

“They come over, we stay together. They get to taste our culture and the Pacific way of life—drinking coconut and running around while playing field, which is something that really elevates the students in Wahroonga. Our partnership is growing stronger and we hope to have more of that in the future.”

Mr Boyd agrees and recommends the experience to other schools. “Students learn that Jesus is present in both Australia and Fiji. This cross-cultural exchange is a powerful way to disciple young people”, he said, adding that the partnership allows students to see that, despite cultural differences, their faith connects them.

Related Stories