Adventist School Choir in Guyana Secures Regional Championship Win

Inter-American Division

Adventist School Choir in Guyana Secures Regional Championship Win

Guyana | CARU Staff and IAD News Staff

Primary-school-age students from Georgetown Seventh-day Adventist Academy burst into excitement as they were crowned winners of the 2024 Regional Mashramani Competition at the National Cultural Center in Georgetown, Guyana, on Feb. 1, 2024. The students participated in a choir performance after competing against five other schools during the country’s annual celebration of Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970.

“The children were super excited when they heard we won,” said Choir Director Shondell Blackett. “We formed a circle and prayed to thank God for the victory.” It is the first time that the school choir participated in the regional competition, said Blackett. The choir performed a religious song called “Stranger” by Donald Lawrence and “along their harmonious melodies and synchronized movements, they captivated the audience and earned the admiration of peers,” she added. “We are hoping this performance act will be a witness for the choir.”

As the results were announced and Georgetown Seventh-day Adventist Academy was named first-place regional champion, each choir member was decorated with a medal.

“We thank God for this remarkable milestone,” said Bondelle Campbell, principal of the school. “With this victory, Georgetown Seventh-day Adventist Academy now sets its sights on the national level, and is prepared to represent its region with pride and excellence.”

The win is no small feat for the school, having participated in the cultural festival for the first time. “People in Guyana look for a school whose participation helps them stand out from among the many,” explained Campbell. “This year we decided to participate to manifest to the world through this event that we believe in the Bible, in the Word of God and God can do wonders.”

No doubt the regional championship title places the school on the map in Guyana, added Campbell. The primary school opened in 2018 and currently has 143 students.

In the 1970s, the Guyanese government nationalized education, taking over the private schools, including 10 Adventist schools in the country, explained Campbell. When Maranatha Volunteers International completed a new school campus in Georgetown in 2018, it provided an opportunity to fulfill a desire for Adventist education. “This is the first school in Guyana to be officially operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in more than 40 years,” said Campbell. Since then, enrollment has increased steadily, and the campus offers after-school care, she added. In addition to regular classes, students are involved in gardening, athletics, choir, and community outreach activities.

“The restoration of Adventist Education within our domain after several decades has satisfyingly piqued the interest of a wide cross-section of society,” said Carolyn Brandon, education director for the Guyana Conference. “The recent involvement in the country’s Mashramani Choir Competition has created an atmosphere that fosters an opportunity for the publicizing of the school in a positive light.”

“This experience has created exposure for the children and the school population to be attuned with their patriotism since such participation brings to the children an awareness of this national event and all that it entails, said Brandon. “Their involvement allows for the holistic development of the children, for these events are attended by many and see varying facets and levels of competition.”

Daphney Magloire, Education director of the Caribbean Union shared her enthusiasm for the win as well: “This is historic and important for the Adventist School because it makes the existence of a Seventh-day Adventist school visible,” Magloire said.

The choir is set to compete in May.

School leaders said the Adventist school recently celebrated 17 students who will be writing the national entrance exam which qualifies them for entry into secondary education. “We are working on finding space for those who would want to continue with us into secondary education,” Principal Campbell said.

The Georgetown Seventh-day Adventist Academy teaches preschool children to grade 6. In addition, the Adventist Church operates an early childcare center on the campus.