The Middle Years...

The Middle Years

(From a commemorative booklet of 25th anniversary of PATS 1990)

  1. E In the late '70s
  2. E New programs
In the late '70s

In the late '70's PATS continued to grow. It was incorporated under the laws of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands as the PATS Educa- tional Foundation of Micronesia, with many Micronesian leaders on the Board of Trustees. The Agri- culture students opened up new fields and produced more food for their own tables. Construction students built and maintained the new buildings that went up on the campus each year. The mechanics students learned to care for the different kinds of machinery that were needed for the growing number of operations at PATS.
Father Charles Crowley came to teach science, math and religion, but really to become the friend of all the students. To this day he draws the greatest crowds when he has the opportunity to travel around Micronesia. Brother Jerry Menkhaus, S.J., came to direct the Construction Department. Generous young volunteers came from the US West Coast under the direction of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and from the personal invitations and direction of Father Don Flickinger in California and Father Ed Gannon of the University of Scranton in Pennsyl- vania. The first volunteers from the Lay Mission-Helpers of the Arch- diocese of Los Angeles arrived to assist in many different ways, in the classrooms, workshops and offices of PATS. Young Micronesians trained at PATS wanted to stay at PATS, to become members of the faculty and to train their younger brothers, taking on increasing responsibilities at PATS.

New programs

New programs were started that focused on the broad development issues that interest PATS and Micronesia. The Community Leadership Training Center was opened and ran many short courses that were asked for by different groups in Micronesia to help people become more self-sufficient. A program was designed by Sister Agnes Helgenberger to help young women become better wives and mothers. Certain PATS graduates were invited to stay on for more training as vocational teachers in the Staff Training Program with the hope that they would want to join the staff at PATS for a few years. Almost all of the young Micronesians on our faculty today have come out of this program. The PATS Agriculture Department started to publish the fruits of their research and field work in the Agro-Industrial Bulletin that was enthusiastically received in all parts of the Pacific. When the price of copra dropped so low that it was no longer profitable for local farmers to sell their copra for export, success- ful efforts were made to produce finished products for sale on Ponape and in the export market. Many at PATS, especially Catalino Sam, contributed their expertise to the development of a new industry- Ponape Coconut Products. PCP started to make and sell pure coconut body oil, laundry soaps, bath soap, shampoo, suntan lotion, cooking oil and other coconut products. The new business has been able to become the prime financial support of many families that live near PATS. Now as we approach the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of PATS the people who work in this company are ready to take it over as their own to run as a private business.

During these years an experiment was started to see whether we could take young women into our high school program. After some years and only a few graduates, the experiment was put aside until other courses rather than mechanics and construc- tion could be offered that would be more culturally acceptable to Micronesian life.

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