Southernmost Adventist School
Graduates High Schoolers
After 57 years of academic life, the Liceo Adventista de Punta Arenas (Punta Arenas Adventist Academy) had its first high school-level graduation. In a ceremony filled with emotion, 29 students graduated as the class of 2011. Some of these have been accepted into engineering, medicine, or education programs for advanced study.
GRADUATION CELEBRATED: Several leaders came together for the first high school-level graduation at Punta Arenas Adventist Academy in Chile, the southernmost school in the church’s global educational network From left: Cesar Beroiza, Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Juan Carlos Díaz, and Mauricio Galdamez.Founded in 1954 with the pastor’s wife as the only teacher, the school now enrolls 520 students in grades kindergarten through 12. Ten of this year’s 29 graduates completed all of their education at Punta Arenas Adventist Academy. The school is valued in the region both for its academics and for its Christian values, and there is a waiting list for admissions.
Situated on the Strait of Magellan facing Antarctica, Punta Arenas Adventist Academy is the southernmost of all 7,806 schools in the Seventh-day Adventist system. Within this system there are 1,680,153 students worldwide.
Augusto Aguila and Isolina Olivares, together with the Melgarejo-Andrade couple, were present, representing the generation that saw the beginnings of the dream of having an Adventist church school in the southernmost city of the world. The guest list also included Cesia Aguila and Eliana Dobson, who received special recognition for being the first teachers in the institution.
Also present was Margarita Goic, lawyer for the secretary of education for the Magallanes Region, and Nelson Santana, supervisor of the Department of Education for Magallanes Province, both representing the minister of education of Chile. “We will continue to support the school,” said Goic, who was instrumental in the school’s receiving authorization to award secondary degrees. School principal Juan Carlos Diaz Costa added, “Ms. Goic has been a tremendous asset and support to the school.”
The ceremony was historic because of the presence of Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, education director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who spoke to the more than 300 persons gathered in the gymnasium. Beardsley-Hardy emphasized the importance of continuing their Christian education and challenged the graduating class to be adventurous and choose from among the 111 Adventist colleges and universities in the world. She encouraged them to be faithful in whatever task lay before them and to place their dreams before God in prayer, because it is His will to bless them and to bless others through them.
Diaz Costa spoke about the importance of the student body developing faith. He recognized the work of those who had played a part in the development of the institution in the past. Special mention was given to Cesar Beroiza and his wife and to Maruricio Galdamez, who are now serving in Talca and Angol, Chile. Both teachers were special guests of the graduating class and were recognized for the significant work they had done for the school.
Special music was provided by the insititutional choir and by the well-known Chilean Army trumpeter, Lt. Fernando Leiva.
—reported by David Mauricio Sandoval Romero, El Liceo Adventista de Punta Arenas; translation by Myrta Rojas