Students outside of Faith Academy (Faith Academy photo)
Celebrations included alumni reunions and former staff in London, New Zealand and Australia. May's graduation was the culminating event. "They probably had their last big hurrah then," said Judy Severn, former principle of Faith Academy.
The school is a cooperative started in 1957 for missionary children. In 1956, an influx of missionaries came to the Philippines after WWII. They often met in the local post office and eventually decided they needed a place to educate their children.
They opened in a house that held classes as well as boarded students. There were just six staff members--one of them a SEND International missionary. Today there are many more. Most staff members are supported missionaries, although they also employ about 60-70 local Filipinos as well.
"I think the greatest strength is that from day one it was a cooperative effort for evangelical mission agencies, and that has continued to be the case," said Severn.
A trip there, though, would now look quite different than it did 50 years ago, according to Severn. "Korea is sending forth thousands of missionaries. So looking at our campus in the year 2007, you're seeing far more brown-haired, beautiful brown-skinned young people and children as opposed to blond hair, blue-eyed--what we would consider North Americans or Europeans."
While they started with solely American curriculum, the expansion of the school has brought the need for British and Korean curriculum.
Students travel up to two hours to attend Faith Academy. There are other schools that service international students for the diplomatic and business community. However, "the price would be, in my estimation (and this is just a guess), probably eight times the cost that it would be to come to Faith Academy," said Severn.
Faith Academy offers quality teaching with a Christian worldview. "Missions like the one I represent are very concerned that we do everything to help missionary children have an education that will equip them to return to their home countries for further training, for work, or to fit into God's plan wherever He would want them," said Severn.
Faith Academy and other missionary children schools are always in need of missionaries who are willing and qualified to serve as teachers or tutors. Today, SEND International recruits teachers for Faith Academy.