|Six of this year's seven graduates from the Christian Center of Communications/Northwestern College pose after the ceremony in Quito on Sept. 22 (left to right): Bryan Rubio, Joffre Herrera, Liz Quinto, Priscila Muñoz, Román Miranda, Mauricio Terán. A seventh graduate, Elizabeth Sutherland, was unable to attend as she is continuing her studies at Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn.|
(Sept. 28, 2012 - by Ralph Kurtenbach) Graduates of the Christian Center of Communications/Northwestern College (CCC/NWC) in Ecuador were challenged with the professional standard of seeking truth as journalists, and then telling it straight.
Addressing six of this year’s seven graduates at a ceremony in Quito last weekend, Augustín Garcells acknowledged free-speech challenges presently confronting Ecuador’s privately owned media.
Then the communication school’s professor encouraged his former students to wade into the fray while purposing to remain true to their principles with a quote from late Polish journalist and historian, Ryszard Kapuściński: “You cannot be a good journalist without being a good person.” As to crafting a story, he cited Albert Einstein’s advice that, “If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.”
|Adjunct professor Alejandro Querejeta challenges graduates.|
A second adjunct professor, Alejandro Querejeta, talked about learning to work as a journalist in Cuba decades ago. He said in an environment where civil liberties were repressed and Christians were persecuted, he had not been a follower of Christ.
“My life had no compass,” explained Querejeta, associate director at La Hora newspaper and author of Investigative Journalism. Then, even after finding a relationship with the Savior, he kept his faith a secret from the authorities. Finally, when he arrived in Ecuador, he said, “I didn’t have to lie!” and he could openly declare his beliefs. He referred to it as “a uniting of his past, present and future.”
Querejeta warned of encountering “bad feelings, hypocrisy and lies” ahead, but reminded his students they have an obligation to remain honest. They must carry biblical truth in their hearts and reveal it by what they do, he said. “The Bible isn’t a theory, but a continuous practice of life.”
|Professor Augustín Garcells acknowledged free-speech challenges confronting Ecuador’s privately owned media.|
Under Ecuador’s Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (National Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation or SENESCYT), the graduates were awarded three-year technologist degrees. Northwestern, based in St. Paul, Minn., also awarded each graduate an associate degree in applied sciences and Bible.
The graduates included Joffre Herrera, Priscila Muñoz, Liz Quinto, Bryan Rubio, Mauricio Terán, Román Miranda and Elizabeth Sutherland. Sutherland was unable to attend the ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 22, as she is continuing her studies at Northwestern.
Nearly 200 people have graduated from the CCC/NWC since HCJB Global began the school in 1984. Since 2001, at least 11 of the graduates have completed an additional 27 credits toward their bachelor’s degrees from the Minnesota college.
|Outgoing CCC/NWC Director Elsi Peñaranda addresses students.|
For HCJB Global missionaries Elsi Peñaranda and Ruth Ann De Flon, it was their last graduation of the communications school before entering retirement. The executive director of the Latin America Region recently appointed a former student, Mary De la Torre, to lead the communications school, replacing Peñaranda, the outgoing director. There will be just one more graduating class in 2013. The school ceased enrolling new students in 2011 due to financial shortfalls.
De Flon, an English professor at the school, arrived in Ecuador as a nurse 44 years ago, later working in communications. Peñaranda, who has served for 34 years with the mission, led the 2012 graduates in a pledge of Christian service. De Flon also offered a prayer.
|English professor Ruth Ann De Flon offers a prayer.|
Three of the graduates, Muñoz, Rubio and Sutherland, are the children of past or present HCJB Global staff members. Muñoz’s father, Javier, worked as a counselor at Radio Station HCJB. Rubio presently works at the station, as do his parents, Dairo and Luz Marina Rubio. His music program, Especialísimo, airs daily on the station and the ALAS-HCJB satellite network. Sutherland is the daughter of missionaries Steve and Kathy Sutherland who worked at the station’s former international transmitter site at Pifo, Ecuador, and now serve with HCJB Global-Australia.
The CCC/NWC has enjoyed accreditation on two continents, including excellent audit evaluations by two Ecuadorian government agencies that regulate higher education. The program received an “A” rating by Ecuador’s Consejo Nacional de Acreditación y Certificación de la Educación Superior (CONEA) whereas the forerunner to SENESCYT scored the program at 98 percent.
Source: HCJB Global