More than 80 years after St. Joseph’s Tenaru national secondary school was first established the need to collect firewood to cook food is now a thing of the past.

Over the years staff and students at the school have had to collect firewood to cook food. Alumni’s of the school perhaps have fond memories of such activities, walking along the river, or the nearby bush to collect firewood. But the size of the school has since grown making it necessary to switch to gas.

The school currently supports more than 500 students, 33 Staff (teaching and non- teaching) and the surrounding community. Many of the buildings and classrooms that stand today are original – and that includes the kitchen.

“This is another improvement the school has had this year compared to the past years where students walk far distance to collect firewood, which is becoming a burden for them,” School Principal Mr. Abraham Hihiru told Solomon Times Online in a recent interview.

“Students can now focus on their studies and other activities like church service, fellowships or study groups rather than collecting firewood, especially during afternoon.”

He says that aside from reducing time spent collecting firewood it also ensures that the school prepares hot healthy meals since cooking stoves are now readily available.

“The timing has been good, given current weather conditions, so this has really been good for students,” Mr. Hihiru said.

St Joseph’s was established in the late 1940s as a boys’ school, becoming co- educational in 1972.