Ocean of Light School celebrates 10th anniversary
NUKU''ALOFA, Tonga — The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga praised the Ocean of Light School for its distinctive educational philosophy, which integrates academics and spiritual virtues, at the school's 10th anniversary celebration held earlier this month.
"The school has grown very rapidly, not only in size but also in the standard of education it is providing," said the Honorable Dr. Fred Sevele. "The school's philosophy, (that) true education is a means whereby children should develop academically, physically and spiritually, has enhanced the development of the school."
The 1 July 2006 commemoration was marked by a devotional program and performances by each class that celebrated the cultural diversity of the school. Present were members of the diplomatic corps, including the High Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand, along with other guests, parents, staff and students.
The school was established in 1996 as a social and economic development project of the Baha'i community of Tonga in response to the needs of the community and a desire to offer the Tongan population an international standard of education.
"This school tries to provide a sound academic education but aspires to instill in the students the idea and desire to be model citizens by polishing the gems within them," said Soyhela Bolouri, on behalf of the school's board, in her opening remarks.
"These valuable gems that can shine and illumine the world by its luster and brightness," said Ms. Bolorui, who is also a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia. "Gems such as truthfulness, honesty, love, kindness, helpfulness and so forth, which are the building blocks of the character of each child."
Starting with only nine pupils, the school expanded to a current student population of over 300 and with staff from various countries such as Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Tonga, and the United States.
In his address, Prime Minister Sevele also congratulated the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tonga, the school's board and the wider Baha'i community for "their achievements in such short 10 years," adding that "the school has reached to a stage that is highly regarded in Tonga."