Everyday People: Mark Petelo

Mark Petelo first landed in East New Britain as a fresh faced 17-year-old, straight out from Grade 10 from Cameron High School in Milne Bay Province in 1978, to enroll at the United Church-run Gaulim Teachers College.

After graduating from Gaulim at the end of 1979, the list of ENB Schools that he taught in are, Tudungan 1980, Rabagi 1981 to 1987, Tamanairik 1988, Nangananga 1989, Tavui 1990 to 1997, Vudal 1998 to 2001, Waterhouse 2002, Kabagap 2003 to 2005 and Kalamanagunan 2006 to 2020.

Mr Petelo was tasked to set up what is now known as Rabagi Primary School as a one-man teacher school in 1981 in only his second year of teaching.

That is where he also met and married his beautiful wife Dorcas and together they have four children. Their second born daughter, Joyce is a teacher, following in her dad’s footstep and eldest son, William is an Accountant with ENBDC based in Port Moresby.

Mr Petelo has taught for 41 years serving only in East New Britain primary schools, which surely makes him a true son and servant of ENB.

When asked what his secret was that kept him going for so long not only as a teacher but also as an high performing head teacher in the biggest primary school in ENB and NGI in terms of enrollment, he responded with his typical smile by saying:

Firstly, it is my belief that God must always be allowed to take His rightful place in all the schools that I teach in especially as a head teacher. I always ensure that we teach and impart to our students, who are gifts from God, well beyond the calling of boundaries of the classroom.

It means that apart from teaching my students academically, I make it my business to ensure they are exposed to spiritual guidance, which will teach them something that can be taught in the classroom. Christian values and principles when embraced by the student, it will make him or her a person of high integrity and credibility in society in the future.

Secondly, I owe it to my Christian upbringing and guidance especially when I arrived in ENB as a young man. I was fortunate enough to be guided and mentored by some great men and woman of God from my Christian Revival Crusade (CRC) family in the likes of late Ps Manas Parik, Ps Douglas Wuru, Ps Gaius Batia, late Ps Serah Ainui and Ps John Toguata to name a few.

Also just as important, I am always thankful of the fact that I am surrounded by hard working, committed and supportive teachers and ancillary staff, strong Board of Managements, cooperative and supportive parents. I have come across energetic students in all the schools that I have served and this has made teaching a lot easier.

Last but not least is my ever supportive wife, children and grandchildren and not forgetting my adopted clan of Rabagi no 2.

Mr Petelo turned 60 yesterday, Monday 14 December, 2021 in which his Kalamanagunan teachers planned a birthday party for him.
During the party, he also announced his plan of retiring from the teaching profession by handing in his resignation letter to the ENB Education Planner, Alkan Mararang.

Mr Petelo finds it satisfying that he has contributed in a small way in the development of his one-time students in the various schools that he has served. Some of his students are now contributing to nation building in various fields in the public and private sectors.

He also holds the following positions, which is testament to how highly regarded Mr Petelo is, Member of the ENB Provincial Education Board, Provincial Examination Supervisor for last 13 years and Member Ambassador for Nambawan Super Ltd representing over 80,000 teachers and the Education workforce.

Terry Longbut