Vonunu National Secondary School in Vella lavella in the Western Province has been renamed and is now called RC Nicholson College.
The college is named after the late Reverend Reginal Chapman Nicholson, the pioneer European Methodist missionary from Melbourne, Australia who brought Christianity to the people of Vella lavella in 1906.
The Blessing Ceremony of the RC Nicholson College included dedication of the monument and signage board, which are merely notices that are aimed at making students feel welcome and proud and to elevate school pride as well as give educational environments an air of prestige. The Blessing of the monument and signage board was conducted by Reverend Nill Armstrong Pitakaji, Moderator of the United Church of Solomon Islands (UCSI). The ceremony took place at Vonunu on Friday 29th, September 2023.
Amongst the invited guests who attended the ceremony were; Hon. Fedrick Kologeto, Minister for Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration and Member of Parliament of South Vella, Dr Franco Rodie, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, Dr Patricia Rodie, Dean of Faculty of Education and Humanities/SINU, Ministers and clergies of United Church from Vella lavella, representatives from the Western Provincial Assembly, the United Church Education Authority, Western Provincial Education Authority, parents and people from the surrounding communities.
In blessing the monument, the UCSI Moderator, Rev Pitakaji stated that the “purpose of building the monument and signage board is for the recognition, growth and extension of God’s work here in this mission college. Reverend Pitakaji said that he acknowledged and accepted the monument and signage board which is called RC Nicholson College as these set apart as the light house and beacon for students and teachers in the community for the extension of God’s Kingdom. After he prayed for the school, he then asked everyone to farewell and say goodbye to the old school name – Vonunu secondary school.
The blessing ceremony was followed by the College’s graduation ceremony for the Years 9, 11, 12 and 13 students who were rewarded with certificates and prizes for their academic achievements, and recognition of leadership and community work.
In his keynote address, PS Rodie stated that he welcomed the new name of the school – for recognising and to remember the first European missionary who brought lotu to the shores of Vella lavella. The new school name would inspire teachers and students to become the school they may become. He challenged the school leaders, teachers, students to develop a branding strategy for their college. PS Rodie stated that the college should come up with a new marketing strategy in order to attract students because in today’s competitive world, parents and students have options to choose which school they would like to attend. Not only that, PS Rodie said, but by creating a strong brand and good reputation can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining students and teachers at the college.
He said branding is a critical aspect of marketing a school. A brand is not just a logo or a tagline or a uniform, rather it is perception in the minds of people about the quality of the school. PS Rodie said branding should include values, culture and personality of teachers and students at RC Nicholson College. He challenged the leadership of the college to improve not only the current image of the college, but most importantly to improve the overall quality of education and academic standing of the college.
Meanwhile, he congratulated the first students who graduated with certificates under the new name RC Nicholson College.
“I can sense that many of you, the graduating students, are beaming with pride.
“I believe your parents are also sharing with you the same feelings at this joyous moment. This is indeed a wonderful occasion and I am pleased to be present here today to celebrate with you – your achievements.
“A hearty congratulations to you all,” he said.