Dine in style – Students to enjoy meals in new-look dining hall

Ballantine Memorial School principal Sisilia Racule (with garland) shares a moment with old scholars’ president Unaisi Tuamoto during the hand over of the dining hall. Looking on are some of the old scholars, guests and teachers. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Students of Ballantine Memorial School (BMS) in Delainavesi, Lami will now enjoy their meals in a recently-renovated dining hall. Speaking at the hand over of the dining hall last week, BMS Walusaiva local president, Mei Niumataiwalu said the renovations cost $40,000.

She said funds were raised through contributions from old scholars around the country and abroad.

“The class of the ’80s got involved from the beginning where they were able to engage with the Republic of the Fiji Military Force (RFMF) engineering unit to help with renovating the roof, floors, washroom and storeroom — this was also made possible with a grant of $27,000 from Government,” Ms Niumataiwalu said.

“We believe this is the work of all the old scholars not only the ’80s and ’90s but as far back as the ’50s and we are so proud of all that we’ve managed to achieve today for our school.”

She said the project plan began in August 2022 and was completed on the first week of January this year.

Treasurer of the BMS ’90s old scholars Kinisimere Volau said she was overjoyed and emotional to see the new changes to the new hall. She said old scholars wanted to show their appreciation to the school by renovating the old building which was built in the late 1950s.

“We managed to fund-raise over $15,000 without the help from the Government and that was through two dinners, one barrel night and soli,” she said.

“The students can now enjoy their meals in an area with no holes and leaking roofs and this was all because of all the hands of the BMS former students.

“The ’90s group raised $13,600 for 20 tables and 40 benches and close to $2000 for the dining room accessories.”

Ms Volau said the old scholars residing abroad were “in tears” after they were showed pictures of the renovated building.

School principal Sisilia Racule thanked the former scholars for their generous gift and said the students would benefit greatly from the renovated dining hall.

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