Atlantic Caribbean Union

ATCU Hosts Second Collegial Gathering of Educators

ATCU Hosts Second Collegial Gathering of Educators
By Pauline Joe-Drakes/ATCU Communication Department

“Although we are separated by water, we are united by a common thread as Adventist teachers and administrators and that is accomplishing the goal of nurturing our children into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Cheryl Rolle, education director of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) as she officially opened the Atlantic Caribbean Union Teachers’ Retreat aboard the Carnival Victory Cruise Line on March 26, 2018.

Under the theme Anchored in Christ, the Heart of Adventist Education, over 100 teachers, school administrators, and counselors from Bahamas Academy in the South Bahamas Conference; Cayman Academy in the Cayman Islands Conference; Grand Bahama Academy in the North Bahamas Conference; and Maranatha Academy in the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission attended the four-day retreat that was organized to reaffirm the commitment to the purpose of Adventist education and to express heartfelt appreciation to the teachers.


At the welcome reception, Dr. Rolle revealed that while she hoped the teachers experienced professional growth, made new friends, and created lasting memories of laughter and delightful discoveries, the main objective was to provide opportunities for teachers to get even closer to Christ.

“By means of the inspiring devotional messages, the interaction with colleagues, the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, we want you to relax, to be still, to destress so that you can hear God’s reassuring voice telling you once again, I love you. A stronger bond with Christ is what we really want for all of us. All of us anchored anew in Christ,” Dr. Rolle explained.

Educators were fully engaged away from the regular rigors of the normal school day as they first connected with God and then with their colleagues. Daily devotions, led by Pastor Theodore Basil Sturrup of the South Bahamas Conference, encouraged attendees to always be mindful of the power of focus and to never minimize their high calling as educators. He reminded the teachers to always put God first as Matthew 6:33 states. “You’re either going to chase things or you are going to chase God,” he said. Pastor Sturrup further explained that God will supply everything that will be needed once He is first.


Professional growth and collegial interaction occurred through the daily table topic discussions and the individual school presentations on the educational practices or strategies being implemented at the respective institutions. Teachers exchanged opinions on such issues as cell phone use in schools, retention, homework policy, and the pros and cons of zero-tolerance policies. Ideas for enriching teaching were gained from the following presentations: Bahamas Academy – “The Importance of Literacy and Technology in the 21
st Century Classroom;” Cayman Academy – “Applying Appropriate Strategies to Enhance Learning;” Grand Bahama Academy – “It Works! (The BWI Lesson Plan);” and Maranatha Academy – “Utilizing Gamification in the Classroom.”

Educators of ATCU were able to renew their minds and relax as they fellowshipped and visited the two ports of call – Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. There is no doubt that the teachers are waiting with bated breaths for the next opportunity to once again unite for professional development and relaxation.

“This time helped me to recalibrate and truly understand my calling and my responsibility to my students as God’s children,” said a teacher.
The Education Department of the ATCU hosts either a teachers’ retreat or convention every five years. This is the second collegial gathering of ATCU educators organized by Dr. Cheryl Rolle and her team of four field directors since the union was formed in November 2010.

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