Let’s learn of resilience from St John’s College
The resilience of this tightly knit community shone through. What little they had, they gave. It was not only in terms of dollars and cents, but in the time and service they gave to the process.
The rebuilding of St John’s College in Cawaci, Ovalau, since the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Winston paves the way for other affected schools to follow.
The staff, parents and ex-scholars did not wait around for handouts. They did not wait for a “pie to fall from the sky” as put aptly by school principal, Father Ekuasi Manu. Instead, they dug deep into their pockets and gave what they could. Support poured in from near and far. The resilience of this tightly knit community shone through. What little they had, they gave. It was not only in terms of dollars and cents, but in the time and service they gave to the process.
Studying under tarpaulin tents did not deter students from doing their best. Perhaps, this was the driving force that carried them through the rest of the year. The school motto “Centred In Christ” reinforced team and community support for those involved in the actual rebuilding of the school including the Republic of Fiji Military Forces engineers. For Marist Brother, Bernard James McKenna, the work in Cawaci is an illustration of both the physical and spiritual rebuilding of lives. Having served in the Solomon Islands for 10 years and Fiji since 1998, he emphasised to St John’s College students during the prizegiving that life was about relationships. He told students that they needed to make a home within themselves and with God - this would allow them to extend to those around them.
Despite reports of two to three tropical cyclones expected to pass through Fiji waters this season, there is no turning back for the Cawaci community. This Sunday, ex-students from the Central/Eastern Division will be in Cawaci to assist with repair works. After a week, those old scholars from the Western Division will move in and do the same. Other groups have come and gone – their work evident in the 85 per cent of the repair works completed so far.
As the biggest co-educational boarding school in the country, St John’s College is leading the way in its display of true community spirit. Other schools affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston can glean a lesson or two from the resilience displayed by St John’s college students, staff and exstudents - including the larger Cawaci community. ALSO READ St John’s College prizegiving
St John’s Cawaci in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston. Photo: Facebook