The Words of the Sisserson Family

"High School of the Pacific" a UTS student's Summer Sojourn

Margaret Sisserson
October 2008

Margaret Polloi-Sisserson, a citizen of Palau, and second year student at the Unification Theological Seminary, was asked to represent and conduct admission testing for the High School of the Pacific (HSP) this summer. She traveled to her home island in the western Pacific and was also blessed to offer the opportunity to students in other North Pacific republics as well.

HSP is a college preparatory boarding and day school serving grades 9 through 12. HSP offers a comprehensive educational experience promoting academic excellence, leadership skills, and principles of world peace for students of the Pacific Region. Located in Kona, Hawaii, HSP is a small and growing high school with the motto, "Today students, Tomorrow's Leaders".

The trip entailed a stop over in Kona, Hawaii for a briefing and then on to the five islands. The work included administering entrance exams, and meeting with parents and community leaders. The first of the five islands was the Republic of the Marshall Islands, then to Kosrae and Pohnpei, two of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Palau and finally Yap (FSM).

Republic of Marshall Island

The parents of the students gathered for a meeting. Mr. Mueller, second from the left in the back row of the photo to the right, a General Manager of the RMI Telecommunication made many good suggestions and comments. One of which, "We are living at a time of great communication technology. If there are parents or people who are not informed or ignorant of HSP, offer them the website. We as islanders should be more proactive and seek correct information and be more enlightened."

Kosrae State - FSM

Ministry of Education administrator and parents are working well together for the education of their children. Mr. Tolenoa explains that the strong religiosity in the island has been a positive force in the community. UTS Church History comes alive in discovering the Puritan's influence in Kosrae. American missionaries felt the need to protect Kosrae from the large numbers of whalers and beachcombers who had made the island their home. In 1852, the Reverend Dr. Benjamin Snow arrived in Kosrae at the height of the beachcomber era. Snow and other missionaries introduced western style clothing and discouraged drinking. Schools were built and the missionaries wrote the Kosraen language for the first time. Many of the hymns sung in Kosrae today are identical to those heard in Boston churches generations ago.

The former first couple of FSM are from Kosrae were in political life for over 21 years. They did many great things to promote education in their time of the office. Former First Lady Lerina and Margaret met in Guam in 1999 and have worked for the empowerment of women. FL Lerina's own word, "I am most free and happy now. I help women, young couples in my church and community and sharing what my conscience tells me to do. Character education taught in the HSP is so needed in our islands."

Republic of Palau

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. was thrilled to see the DVD of first graduation of the HSP this year of 2008. He was in the Republic of the Marshall Island when he heard of the idea of the school and now few years later, there are Palauan students testing for the HSP.

Yap State - FSM

Sister Margaret Margou, a Mercedarian nun, is Yap's Director of Education. In her position, she is not just an educator and administrator but a missionary at heart. "It is funny", she said, " people will call on her at all times for her to visit the hospital, do counseling for the bereaved and maybe forget she has a school system to run." She is delighted that students in the Pacific from all faiths are invited to the High School of the Pacific. Sister Margou's final comments, " Imagine if they learn to understand each other's faith and culture at an early age, we can only have hope for the future." 

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