|Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, inspects an honour guard of cadets of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has dismissed the long-held "older secondary school versus newer secondary school" argument and told the students of the Garrison Secondary School that they had nothing to be ashamed about.
He made this observation today while addressing an official ceremony to rename the Garrison Secondary School – The Graydon Sealy Secondary School – at its Paddock Road, St. Michael location.
Speaking about the school’s excellence since it opened its doors in 1975, Mr. Stuart listed Cabinet ministers, Michael Lashley, the Minister of Housing and Lands and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, as distinguished old scholars who ably represented the country in international fora.
He also singled out magistrates Douglas Frederick and Ian Weekes, the school’s Chairman of the Board of Management and Attorney-at-Law, Junior Allsopp, fellow Attorney, Sidney Pinder, and entertainers Lil Rick and Classic, as other Garrisonians whose service have done the country proud.
"So, I have never accepted the fraudulent distinction that is made between older secondary schools and newer secondary schools – the aim of which that distinction usually is – to give the impression that newer secondary schools produce products that are inferior.?? When you come to the Garrison Secondary School, you can get the best education," Mr. Stuart emphasised.
The Prime Minister said the school’s opening more than three decades ago, was based on government’s conviction that education must not only be free at the point of contact but, "we must make sure that students have access to that education by an adequacy of school plants across the country".
Mr. Stuart, in paying tribute to Mr. Sealy’s service to the school, said his introduction in 1975 as Principal, signified the launch of a "great enterprise."????????
Prior to his tenure at the Garrison Secondary School, the Prime Minister said Mr. Sealy taught in Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, before returning to Barbados where he taught at West St. Joseph School, now the Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School, and the Lodge School.
"So, when he came here [Garrison Secondary School], he not only came with a niagara of intelligence…but a niagara of experience which he put fully at the disposal of students and the staff of this institution.
"That is why 37 years later, because of the foundations which he [Sealy] and those whose loyalty he commanded and who worked so faithfully with him have laid, we can boast of a Garrison Secondary School that shines for all Barbadians to see," Mr. Stuart underlined.
He told students that the renaming of the school would demand a higher level of excellence from them.?? "The students of this school must understand therefore, that Graydon Sealy’s commitment to the pursuit of excellence is what will now characterise their exertions as this school bears his name.?? The high standards on which he insisted from the first day he came to the school as headmaster have endured," the Prime minister added.
Mr. Stuart further stated: "So, we cannot take this renaming as just a perfunctory exercise which we performed and just move on.?? This school is now being named after a man whose only standard has been excellence.?? Therefore, this will require a redoubling of efforts on the part of students of the school to maintain the highest standards possible…,"??
Meanwhile, in acceptance, Mr. Sealy described the renaming as a signal honour which did not only belong to him, but, to his former colleagues and the students he had helped to nurture.
Noting that education today was not for the faint hearted especially for teachers of the "so called" newer secondary schools, the former principal posed three questions that were relevant to student-centred education.
"Should students be required to sit the Common Entrance Examination because they are at the level or because they are ready??? If performance on that exam is an accurate gauge of academic ability, why are pupils with low exam scores following the
same curriculum as those with high scores??? Why are teachers of the underachieving students not being trained in remedial instruction?" Mr. Sealy queried.
He urged the officials not to turn a blind eye to these suggestions and encourage the students to continue to work hard to achieve excellence.