Seventh-day Adventist leaders and educators on the island of Dominica recently broke ground for a new state-of-the-art primary school and resource center. The new school will be the home of the Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Primary School, an institution that, since its establishment in 1976, has been operating in the basement of the Rosea Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Honorable Miriam Blanchard, Minister for Labor, Public Service Transformation, Social Partnership, Entrepreneurship and Small Business, as well as the Parliamentary Representative for Roseau North Constituency, commended the Adventist Church for the committed work in molding and educating young minds. “I am confident that with this new structure, greater work will be accomplished,” she said.
The new K–6 multigrade school will be a modern, wheelchair-accessible, three-story building with ten classrooms, a computer lab, resource room, auditorium, principal’s office, staff room, and kitchen.
The project is working out to be the biggest undertaking from a determined constituency to promote Christian education on an island where the influence of Christian education has made an immense impact, according to Ursula Leslie, school principal and leader of the fundraising committee.
Faced with growing enrollment in a limited space, Principal Leslie expressed determination that the school should move from the basement of the Roseau Church to a stand-alone structure. “This monumental edifice in the city of Roseau will be a testament to the Adventist presence on the island,” she said. “This is our project. We are the arm of God, and He will see it through to the end.”
Plans for the construction of the new school were introduced in 2010 during Pastor David Beckles‘ tenure as president of the East Caribbean Conference. “He envisioned it not just as a school, but also as a resource center for the island church,” said Leslie. “When the loan was paid for the land, Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017 and set back everything; then the pandemic was a further setback.”
Prior to 2017, the school had an enrollment of 323 students and operated on morning and afternoon shifts because the classrooms were crowded, explained Leslie. “Each classroom had 30–35 students, but we have intentionally reduced the class size to an average of 25, which forced us back to a shift system in 2021 and to rent a building in town last year to accommodate grades 5–6.”
Following several fundraising activities in recent years needed to pay off the building site, the project is poised to receive funds from next year’s Thirteenth Sabbath offering, thanks to Dr. Daphney Magloire, Education director for the Caribbean Union. During Magloire’s previous tenure as Education director for the East Caribbean Conference (ECC), the proposal to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists requesting a portion of the 2024 Thirteenth Sabbath was submitted. The proposal was successful.
Andrea Hudson-Hoyte, the current Education director for ECC, was pleased that the school “will be able to accommodate more students in conditions that are more conducive to learning, which is important for Christian education in Dominica.”
Pastor Anthony Hall, president of ECC, who was among the many participants during the ceremony, praised the commitment of so many people who have contributed to making the project a reality. “This will not just be another academic building, but one that will remind us each day to follow God’s command as we prepare people to save souls and serve others,” he said.
The original primary learning center was the vision of Devorce Alexander, Beatrice Barron, Liege Jerome, and Akma Trocard, under the leadership of its first principal, Pastor Mozart Serrant, in 1976.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dominica oversees twenty-eight churches and congregations, three primary schools, and one secondary school.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division website.