PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has paid tribute to St Joseph’s Catholic National Secondary School as a learning institution that has played a pivotal role in educating Solomon Islanders.
Speaking during the school’s 75th Anniversary celebrations today, the Prime Minister said as we reflect on the past, we note with great admiration the resilience, growth and success of St. Joseph’s Tenaru over the last 75 years.
“Many Solomon Islanders both men and women from all walks life has risen through the ranks and are now holding prominent responsibilities both in the public and private sectors,” he said.
The Prime Minister also paid tribute to some of the country’s great leaders who were former students of the school.
“Some of these great leaders have since left us and they are former Governor General Sir George Lepping, former Speaker of the National Parliament, Sir Paul Tovua and former Prime Minister, Bartholomeu Ulufa’alu,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare also acknowledged some of the pioneer leaders that are still around such as former Prime Minister, Hon Ezekiel Alebua and first local Chief Justice, Sir John Muria.
“This great school has also given this country great men and women who have served this country across various professions in both the public and private sector. Even today, we have many former scholars holding senior positions in Government, private and the community,” he said.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to also acknowledge and recognize the contributions and roles played by the religious missionaries that helped in the education of Solomon Islanders.
“This country owes you a debt of gratitude. Thank you for your service to our country,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare also made special mention of the Marist Brothers and Marist Fathers, plus other religious congregations that helped founded the school and other schools around the country.
“These Leaders and the early Missionaries through their hard work, sacrifice, commitment and professionalism have laid the foundation and planted the seed which our country now enjoys,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the challenge now is to nurture this close collaboration between the Government and Churches to advance and progress our country for a joyful, peaceful and prosperous Solomon Islands.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has also paid tribute to the traditional landowners of Malango and the people of Guadalcanal for hosting the school for the past 75 years.
“I thank you for being an understanding and respectful host to this great institute of education, a nurturing ground of leaders past, present and of course for the future,” Prime Minister Sogavare said when recognizing the Malango House of Chiefs in his speech.
The theme for the celebrations is “Recalling our Past, Forming Our Today, and Shaping Our Future’’.