The Seventh-day Adventist Church is celebrating two events this month—the SDA School turns 35 and SDA Dental Clinic turns 45—and the theme “Celebrating Years of Service” couldn’t be more apt.
Dr. Kenneth D. Pierson, the SDA Dental Clinic director, said that reaching both milestones mean a great deal to those working and those who have helped establish these two SDA Church-run institutions.
“For those who have served the school or clinic, their commitment to better our island’s education services or dental services will continue to produce a positive impact in the lives of many on our island,” said Pierson.
He recounted that the SDA Dental Clinic was started in 1972, with Dr. Steve Fischer as its first doctor. He and his wife Carol and two daughters were on Saipan for 19 years.
Maria Agulto, who is SDA Clinic’s longest employee, works as a dental hygienist. This is her 41st year.
Saipan SDA School principal Dr. Ray R. Yates said this celebration is a celebration of life.
“The school, working with families over the years, means changing lives. We create leaders, celebrate milestones in a child’s life, [and] teach morals that make the CNMI a better place. I believe that the school has had an impact on not just the CNMI but around the world. We have and have had students from many different countries that went to school here and went back to their home countries,” he said.
“We are here not just to provide a good academic education. We are here to train the student to be good citizens, wherever they are in this world,” Yates added.
Pierson said the SDA Dental Clinic has been instrumental in the fight against oral cancer.
“We have saved many people’s lives because they sought care early enough to be able to have successful treatment and they are still here today,” he said.
The SDA Dental Clinic also started a scholarship fund for deserving children to be able to attend the SDA School.
“We organize multiple mission trips each year to neighboring Micronesian Islands to serve their dental needs for free,” he said.
The clinic also holds Clinic With A Heart and Give Kids a Smile days, which are free dental treatment days for those who are uninsured and have dental needs.
“We love giving back to our community and strive to act in selfless and caring ways,” Pierson added.
Yates emphasizes that for SDA School to get this far and yet remain strong and steadfast is not an individual effort.
“Our key players are all our past and current staff. Each individual has played a significant role in helping to make the Saipan Seventh-day Adventist School a better place for all of the students and parents. Each of our staff members have had an influence on our students and parents that have impacted their lives and this in return affects all of CNMI,” he said.
“Our message to the public is that we thank them for continuing to put their trust in our services, dental and educational,” Pierson said.
The SDA School and SDA Dental Clinic Anniversary celebration will be on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 11am to 3pm at the Garapan Fishing Base. SDA Church is inviting the public to attend.