For many years, there has been a desire to have a pre-kindergarten at Bermuda Institute (BI) to serve as a feeder school for the elementary school, but each time, some bureaucracy hindered the plan. However, upon the appointment of the new principal, Wayne Edwards, in 2017, several Adventist parents, who were determined to have their children in an Adventist institution, petitioned the then superintendent, Richard Smith, to start a pre-K.
Unfortunately, Bermuda law does not allow pre-K and K (four-year-olds and five-year-olds) to be in the same classroom, share the same space, or use the same playground. In light of this, plans to have the pre-K in the elementary building were abandoned. Subsequently, a member of the Bermuda Government Department of Health came in to reassess the location for the pre-K. In touring the campus, she identified the band room as an ideal location that could satisfy the government’s requirement. The band relocated to another area on campus.
The hand of God was in this plan as donations poured in for the pre-K. The Willow Bank Foundation donated $21,500 toward the project. The ceiling and floors were rebuilt, and an additional bathroom was added. By the time the school year was to start in August 2017, the renovations were complete. However, the occupancy permit from the government was withheld. The Department of Health had granted a permit, but the Department of Planning would not give the occupancy permit to allow the band room to be used for pre-K.
Hoping the permit would yet be obtained, the opening of the pre-K was delayed until mid-September of 2018. The text in 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not give us more than we can bear, but with the temptation, will make a way of escape. With parents praying, the 12 pre-K students were housed for the entire school year in the Southampton church, which is adjacent to the school.
The late Harrison Isaac, an architect, went to the planning department several times throughout the year, but was unsuccessful in securing the permit. “We were withstood, similar to Gabriel being held back by Satan in answer to Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 7),” said Edwards.
The Premier of Bermuda, the Honourable David Burt, J.P., M.P., consented to be the commencement speaker for the BI graduation exercises in May 2019. Before his speech, he toured the facility and asked, “Is occupancy all you need?” During his speech, he announced that the permit would be granted, to the delight of everyone present. Despite that bold announcement, the enemy was still at work. “Based on the Premier’s declaration, we occupied the building, but the school could not advertise for students, since they had not obtained an official occupancy certificate,” said Edwards.
Although individuals in the government, such as the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Wayne Caines, an alumnus; the Speaker of the House, the Honourable Dennis Lister, Sr., board member; and member of Parliament, the Honourable Dennis Lister, Jr., alumnus, were sympathetic to the school’s cause, obtaining the permit proved to be elusive.
Everyone continued to pray. At the same time, it was revealed that some members were opposed to any progress and were determined to try to thwart God’s plan. Because the school could not advertise, the enrollment did not meet the projected numbers, and on several occasions, they considered giving up.
But praise God, who always comes through for His people. In August 2019, the miracle happened. The school received confirmation and had permission to occupy the building.
Today, Bermuda Institute pre-K is in full operation. Praise God for His leading as Bermuda Institute seeks to point the little lambs to Him.
—Principal’s Office, Bermuda Institute