IN any education institution support or auxiliary staff are important for the ongoing operations of a school so that this minimal disruption.
For most boarding schools, these staff play are pivotal role to support the school administration, teaching staff and students.
Teaching staff concentrates on the academic aspect of the students, while auxiliary staff are like the backbone of the school.
They work in a number of areas as maintenance and repair, plumbing, mechanic, groundsmen, farmer, dean, bursar, cooks, nurse, truck or boat drivers, IT and so forth.
Therefore, for a boarding school like Kukudu Adventist College (KAC) located in Kolombangara, Western Province, they also have a number of support staff.
I spent about a week on Kolombangara recently and managed to catch up with the school’s well known boat driver and mechanic.
Meet Denis Timothy, from Marovo and Ranoggah.
He spent nine years so far at the school looking at the mechanical department to oversee the maintenance, servicing and repairing of things like outboard motor (OBM), lawn mowers, grass-cutters, generators and other machines of the school.
He also supports the IT group to ensure the server is being looked after.
Prior to joining the College, Denis attended Honda Theology School at Kukudu to become a church worker and evangelist.
As a young lad, his skills and knowledge on outboard motor (OBM) started back when he was young through a look and learn initiative.
However, while attending Honda, his skills was recognized and after completing his studies, he was roped in to join the college.
In November 2019 he spent about a month as an instructor, tutor and student at the Integrated Technical Vocational Training Centre at Dekurane in North New George where he also attained his qualification as a mechanic.
This allowed him to confidently fix and maintain two stroke petrol engines.
Since then, he served the school to ensure all the machines continue to be serviced and maintained.
Married with five children, one of his children is now a teacher and one is in form six sitting her exam this week
More than a week on Monday 7th November, one of the daughter was part of the 53 arts and science students from Kukudu that graduated.
And Denis was proud to see her finally completed her sixth form.
He said, his investment in education had paid off.
Denis is someone who continues to learn through practical work that enabled him to gain knowledge and experience in fixing some of the machines at the school.
As someone who is very active in his work, he always takes instruction from the school administration.
As the main boat skipper for the school, one of his weekly assignments is to transport students and staff every Mondays and Fridays to Gizo and return.
This is for them to do their shopping or other business and private work such as research and doing their assignments.
Traveling between the school and Gizo is mainly on a boat and therefore, most times he ensures the safety of his passengers are prioritised.
He usually loads the right amount of passengers.
Several months ago he underwent a five days training conducted by the ministry of environment, disaster management, conservation, climate change and meteorology for all small boat drivers to better the weather pattern and know when its time to travel out into the sea.
Following the training a flag pole was placed infront of the Gizo wharf to identify when its okay to travel out in the sea and when its not.
The blue flag indicates fine weather and red flag – bad weather.
However, during any emergency situation he travels out to Gizo or to nearby islands.
Former students of Kukudu who have passed through the school nine years ago would testify the kind of person Denis is.
He has a humour and someone who can be fun to be around with because of his jokes.
With a very supportive wife, they ensure that their home is always welcoming to the students who normally comes to use their kitchen to cook their food.
When theres food, they always share them to the students.
“Its always a blessing to support the students,” he said.
He told the paper, he is happy to serve the mission school and as long as his service is required, he will continue to serve.
However, he added, there are challenges he faced as a family man to support his own family given the situation brought about COVID-19.
He highlighted the financial constraints to support his children in school and other family members.
“The financial constraints is a challenge but I thank God for His leading and guidance in my life and family,” he said.
He recently lost his mother after a short illness who always supports him through advise.
She had also encouraged him to remain faithful in his work and to continue serve God.
And because of that, he remains faithful in serving the church and the school.
He is also grateful for the support that comes from his family members and relatives especially one of his influential uncles, Volosi is still alive and now living in Ranoggah.
In the past Volosi would also offer him some advise.
He said, family support is important and maintaining such relationships and connection is always important.
“Because in times like this, we need to support each other,” he said.
He acknowledged that with support of God and the school, he continues to enjoy his work.
Denis said, his priority is to ensure his children continues to get their education and for him to serve the church’s school.
He also thanked the Church and Kukudu school administration for having the confidence in him to continue serve the school.
By MOFFAT MAMU