There was a period in the 50-years of Gordon International School’s operation that expatriate parents and staff protested against a decision to allow majority Papua New Guineans run the school.
Former board chairman Stanislaw Stevens Tao described the day as the “black Monday” in 1991.
Speaking at Gordon’s silver jubilee celebration coinciding with PNG’s 44years of Independence last Thursday, he said the late International Education Agency (IEA) founder Steve Mead called for a parents and teachers meet, and made a decision on one Friday that it was time nationals run the school with an exception of the Principal.
The following Monday classes started as late as 10am and expatriate parents protested, withdrawing their children from the school.
Only late Ian Boden who married an East New Britain woman worked with the board, stood with Mead’s decision and the school was run reaching great achievements till now.
He said he stumbled up on the school coincidently some 32 years ago-enrolling his son there, and he never looked back.
“Today I am so proud to see Gordon run and managed by IEA (International Education Agency) by run by Papua New Guineans,” he said.
“We have overcome challenges and prejudice.”
He now resides at Kimbe working as the CEO of West New Britain Provincial Health Authority.
The schools theme for this year is “a golden journey connecting people through global learning” and he paid tribute to founders like Mead- describing them as already capturing that in the curriculum which embraces the past, present and the future.
Mr Tau also praised the national teachers who have been running the school with a female principal currently the head.
For him, the engagement and dedication to lead the board to make decisions for better learning of children comes with a blessing.
“It’s been joy walking to a bank and someone greets you and then you say… sorry how did we meet?” he said.
The worker responds you were a board chairman at Gordons.
He mentioned Rhoda and Steven Ilave’s who are pilots and his relative Captain Steward Kadiko-all with Air Niugini.
They are among many former students he was proud of and proud of the efforts of the national staff.