Seventy-one years ago a small band of believers had a vision of providing Christian education to the young people in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bermuda. After many challenges, a school was started in the Southampton church basement with 13 students and one teacher. There are now more than 300 students and 30 teachers living out that vision. With Christian teachers, dedicated Bible workers, and Bible teachers laboring for the Master, it makes Bermuda Institute the largest evangelistic center for the Bermuda Conference.
For the past several years, the Bermuda Conference, through the Office of Education, has emphasized the importance of Adventist Christian education during the month of February. This year was no exception. In fact, the conference added additional focus by instituting educational presentations at the annual workers meeting. Elissa Kido, director, presented enlightening, persuasive, and substantial research from the Center for Research on K-12 Adventist Education located at La Sierra University.
In addition to this, each church in the conference took the time to emphasize the importance of Adventist education. Each of the churches participated in their own unique way. The Restoration Ministries church dedicated an entire church service on that particular Sabbath to promote Adventist education. Students had key responsibilities throughout the service. Somerset church emphasized Adventist education during the entire month. They honored Adventist teachers who teach in public schools while still highlighting Adventist education. Sermons were preached that portrayed the “saving grace” of our school. The Somerset church has pledged $50,000 in order to assist any students from their church who wish to attend Bermuda Institute.
Success and the fulfillment of the vision do not just happen. Achieving these takes hard work, dedication, and commitment. As a part of the North American Division, Bermuda Institute works hard to uphold the philosophy, curriculum, and standards of Adventist education as stipulated by the division. The school continually seeks to render a Christ-centered quality education for the young people in this conference.
The North American Division accrediting team evaluated Bermuda Institute in April of this year. The 11-member team, led by Hamlet Canosa, Columbia Union vice president for education, was comprised of education directors, superintendents, principals, and teachers who validated the entire educational program the school offers. The team visited classrooms and interviewed students and faculty members.
They looked at student and parent surveys and declared that we operate an excellent school. They’ve reported to administration and teachers the affirming words of students as they talk about their spiritual, academic, and social experiences at Bermuda Institute. “It’s the best school on the island,” said one senior student, while others nodded in agreement. Those are the words any school loves to hear.
With a shrinking economy and depleting funds, the conference and school continue to treasure the dream and cherish the vision of providing a mission-driven Adventist education to all students. It is a viable, essential commodity in the Bermuda Conference.
Sheila Holder is the Bermuda Conference superintendent of schools.