|Sir Frederick??Smith and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones??watch as cadets raise the??flag of the newly-renamed Frederick Smith Secondary School.??(C. Henry/BGIS)??|
St. James Secondary School was today renamed the Frederick Smith Secondary School at a ceremony at Trents, St. James that recognised the outstanding contribution made by the eminent jurist whose name it bears.
Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, in giving the rationale for the change said: "It is on the shoulders and backs of men such as Sir Frederick that this country is what it is today. But, there are men and women who have gone before on whose shoulders this country has been developed. Many of them may be just records in the archives… persons who have long gone.
They did it selflessly, they worked for us to be where we are today and they faced prejudices then that we cannot imagine even now, even though books of history would tell us about that."
Acknowledging that he was saluting these individuals along with Sir Frederick Smith, "an outstanding Barbadian and a hero of the working class of Barbados", Mr. Jones added: "Today, it is not only in the memory or in the life of Sir Frederick that we name the school but in the memories of every single one of them – those whose backs we climbed on [and] those who faced the challenges and the barbs of life."
He told those who would choose to be negative about renaming that in the past, schools were named after persons and their philanthropic gestures as well as religious persons. And, he added that as the 1950s attempted "to satisfy the hunger for education in Barbados", schools were named after villages and parishes, hence the names St. Lucy Secondary and St. James Secondary.??
Emphasising that it was important to understand how this country had evolved and why schools were named after individuals, the Education Minister stressed: "The school does not change in the moment because its name has been changed. The school has to continue to grow, develop its culture look upon the legacy it has had and create new legacies. The past is never forgotten; the past is built on."
Past principals, teachers, old scholars, students and officials of the Ministry, heard that schools would not only be named after men who "had behind their names 40 letters" but also after ordinary citizens "who, because of their love and care, the community appreciated them for what they had done."
Minister Jones used the example of the Thelma Berry Nursery School named after a janitor and he said: "A nation is poorer when it does not recognise its sons and daughters… To name places after people is to celebrate their lives…It says that we have matured as a people."????????
Students present were told that they were part of a "history-making moment", which they would reflect on for a long time. "This is your moment, just as it is Sir Frederick’s moment and we can’t take that from you. We give it to you as part of your legacy," Mr. Jones remarked urging them to use the "footsteps" imprinted by Sir Frederick which made a difference in Barbados and the world.??????
Minister Jones also had a word of advice for the Acting principal and her staff. He said: "The responsibility is yours, with support, to create a school of excellence.?? As this school takes on a new name; as it continues to build on the successes of the past; let us re-immerse and immerse ourselves in what is positive, in what is good and in what can help our children reach the heights yet unknown."