THE Erave High School, in Southern Highlands province conducted its first ever formal graduation last week.
Since the establishment of the Erave High School in 1999, it had graduated few students and had never had a formal graduation due to election-related violence and other social-economic factors, like the Gobe oil discovery which had forced people to flock to the mining site or flying out to Port Moresby or other centres.
However, many disadvantaged students could not continue school because they could not afford to pay for the school fess.
Headmaster Max Tambue said the school had never attracted many students to do Grades nine and 10 because of school fee problems and other election-related and ethnic conflicts that had emerged as a result of the Gobe oil fields.
In the past, students from the area normally walk to Kagua, Mendi and Ialibu high schools to continue their education.
During last week’s graduation, only 20 Grade 10 students graduated.
Those who pass their national examinations will continue into Grades 11 and 12 at the same school after it was declared a secondary school.
Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru’s representative, Jerry Tipale, said the governor had committed K500,000 to the school under the school project development plans.
Previously, the Erave High School was using buildings belonging to the Catholic diocese of Mendi, who used the area as the seminary and a catechists training centre.
The classrooms and buildings are still old and run-down.
The Yatupa clan, in which the school is situated have vowed to support the school and promised not to disrupt it and claim for compensation.
“We are happy and proud that this school is located on our land, and we will continue to support it and I appeal to all parents in Erave district to support the school,” Simon Kewa, Yatupa landowner representative, said.
Christopher Papiali, an academic, was in tears when the first ever graduation was held.
He challenged the graduates to stay focused and told them that education was the key to all things in life.
He encouraged all parents to support the school by supplying garden food so the school would not have to buy store foods as they were becoming expensive.
A special project working committee is being established to raise funds to build a library and other physical infrastructure.
Any Eravian who want to contribute ideas can contact the committee chairman Mr Papiali on 72111918.