Students of the Mountain View Adventist Academy on October 14, handed over a cheque of EC 1,658 dollars to president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Seventh Day Adventist mission, Pastor Dermonth Baptiste.
The cheque is to assist with the relief efforts of the local mission to the hurricane ravished Bahamas.
On September 1 of this year, hurricane Dorian made landfall on Abaco islands as a category five hurricane. It is reported that Dorian killed at least 61 people in the Bahamas; 52 on Abaco and 9 on Grand Bahama.
Addressing the short ceremony held at the school, Principal Gabriel Bowman said: “Our hearts go out to them” as he reflected on the idea that while God spared St. Vincent and the Grenadines, our neighbours in the northern Caribbean were not as fortunate, especially the Bahamas.
Principal Bowman said on September 5, the school prepared a little box to start raising funds to assist with relief efforts. Students were asked to donate from their lunch or break monies and make a sacrifice to assist the people in the Bahamas.
He said immediately after the effort was launched, students started putting in their contributions. As news of the devastation of the islands hit, Mr. Bowman said the school felt it could do more and a number of students went out into the Richland Park community to ask for assistance. He thanked the students for their efforts.
Head prefect, Shaiyan Bowman, who handed over the cheque to Pastor Dermonth Baptiste said that the student body saw the tragedy hurricane Dorian brought to the Bahamas and added that their hearts went out to all the families who lost their homes and even family members as a result. “I am sure if we were in this situation, we would have wanted all the help we could get in order to get back on our feet,” she added.
After accepting the cheque, Pastor Baptiste said he was happy and delighted, and thanked the principal and staff, as well as the students for heeding the call to respond in a positive and meaningful way to the appeal that went out on behalf of the Bahamas.
Pastor Baptiste said that the Bahamas is devastated to the extent that it will take a long time to rebuild, before life returns to normalcy and it will need the collective effort of the international body including those of us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help with its recovery.
He said the gesture by the students is a reflection of the philosophy of what Adventist education is all about.
“The Seventh day Adventist church responds to people’s needs in three meaningful ways:
1. direct and indirect evangelism 2. Education and 3. through services to the community and to the nation; and the students having heeded the call gave selflessly from their pocket money.”
Pastor Baptiste, who is also education director of the SDA thanked the principal and staff on behalf of the SVG mission of Seventh Day Adventists, for motivating and mobilizing the student body to respond in “this very positive and generous manner”.
He disclosed that the local mission is working towards collecting no less than 10,000 US dollars to donate to the Bahamas hurricane relief effort. The cheque donated by the students forms part of that target.