Unveiling the bust of the late Hilda Ashton Skeene at the Hilda Skeene Primary School in Ruby, St. Philip. (PMO)

The Hilda Skeene primary school today celebrated its 25th anniversary, with the unveiling of a bust in honour of Barbadian educator, the late Hilda Ashton Skeene.

A ceremony, punctuated with song and other artistic expressions by students, took place on site in the presence of Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, other officials within that Ministry, and former principals and teaching staff.

Delivering the keynote address, Minister Bradshaw noted that the locally-made effigy, stood in remembrance of a Barbadian whom she described as a “trailblazer and a woman of vision”, who loved children. 

“She’s a reminder of what excellence and leadership should look like…Hilda Skeene is a reminder to those who seek to enter the teaching profession that teaching is about making a lifelong impact on those for whom you have responsibility.

“She’s a reminder of what excellence and leadership should look like…Hilda Skeene is a reminder to those who seek to enter the teaching profession that teaching is about making a lifelong impact on those for whom you have responsibility.”

Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw

“It is about creating opportunities for students to be able to tap into their true potential, not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom, and being able to help them not only socially but also emotionally, to develop into well-rounded individuals and citizens,” the Minister remarked, as she praised teachers for their dedication in spite of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on the pioneering works of Mrs. Skeene in education, Ms. Bradshaw reiterated her Ministry’s commitment to reforming the existing system in a way that helps children reach their potential.

She stated that it was not just about numeracy and literacy alone, “but also about giving children a wide range of things from which they could choose”, for example, the arts.

The Education Minister disclosed her Ministry’s intention was to work with teachers to ensure every primary school has an agricultural programme for students. 

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw (pictured), described the late Hilda Skeene as a trailblazer and a woman of vision, who loved children. (PMO)

“I think all of us would agree that our students have moved so far away from agriculture, and the only way that we can teach them to eat what they grow and grow what they eat is if we start the process of transformation from the earliest age, teaching them to appreciate nature, because by appreciating nature they have a better understanding of life….

“There are also ways to teach Mathematics and English, and other subjects by incorporating [them] into the agriculture programmes,” Ms. Bradshaw said.

She also took the opportunity to thank the six past principals and staff for their commitment to the students, and encouraged them to “continue to live up to your motto – Only the Best is Good Enough”.

In his remarks, Principal of Hilda Skeene, Ivan Clarke said staff had sought to build on Mrs. Skeene’s legacy of helping students to reach their potential.

He added that in addition to the bust, they were seeking to create the Hilda Skeene Memorial Gardens, with a wall of honour as a place of reflection and inspiration for students.

Hilda Skeene Primary, was an amalgamation of the Holy Trinity and Beulah Primary schools. It was established to accommodate the growing development in St. Philip and was officially opened on July 7, 1997, by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley who, at the time, was the Minister of Education.

The school has seen a number of outstanding Barbadians passing through its doors, including Olympian Akela Jones, and England-based cricketer, Jofra Archer.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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