Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, and Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney, turning the sod to signal the start of construction of a 200-metre five-lane track at the Springer Memorial Secondary School, today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

“Monumental but not surprising” is how Principal of the Springer Memorial School, Mitchelle Maxwell, today described the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a 200-metre five-lane track soon-to-be installed at the school in Government Hill, St. Michael.

In her welcome remarks, she said: “Anyone who knows the Springer Memorial School and its sense of tenacity and grit would know that we have always sought to be trailblazers and I say so with immeasurable humility.”

Mrs. Maxwell reminded those gathered that the school reigned for 16 consecutive years as BSSAC champions, and had two Olympian Champions on the World Stage – Akela Jones (Rio De Janeiro, 2016) and Tristan Evelyn (Tokyo, 2021).  

“This has given rise, with strong justification, as to why we are here today,” she said, while giving the commitment that the “Queens at Government Hill” would continue to create history.

“And we will continue to fuel an agenda in making strong representation for facilities to support our sporting programmes and healthy lifestyle initiatives,” Mrs. Maxwell said, as she acknowledged the support of the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training and the role of the Board of Management.

Later revealing that the track should be completed at a cost of “about over $200, 000”, Principal Maxwell noted that the project aimed also to preserve the natural environment.

Meanwhile, Physical Education (PE) Coordinator, Julie Phillips, speaking on the vision of the High Performance Centre and the Springer on Track legacy, noted that the groundbreaking represented the beginning of a seven-year-old dream of the school’s PE department.  

She reminded the audience that Springer’s trailblazing exploits were not only in athletics, but in hockey, volleyball, netball, basketball and road tennis.

Principal of the Springer Memorial School, Mitchelle Maxwell, in discussion with Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Betty Alleyne-Headley, following the groundbreaking ceremony today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

On the academic side, she noted that in 2005, when CSEC PE and Sport was introduced, it was one of the first two schools to make that bold step into unknown territory by adding it to the curriculum, and when CAPE PE and Sport was introduced in 2016, it was one of three schools to include it at the sixth form level.

While noting that first formers were reminded of the rich legacy of excellence across all areas of the school, she said the student body and all athletes were reminded to “let excellence be their way’ and to stamp their authority and explore all opportunities at school.  

Excellence, she added was further encouraged through combining sports with good academics and using this as “the top-notch vehicle to carry them forward”.

The groundbreaking ceremony saw Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, along with Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney, turning the sod to signal the start of construction.

Minister Griffith, in commending the effort by Springer Memorial School, said his Ministry was about unearthing diamonds in the rough.  

He added: “I am cognisant there is a reservoir of untapped talent across the island of Barbados, especially in the school setting, and what Springer would have done here today in terms of coming out of blocks first, I really, really hope that this could be replicated at other schools that have the space to do similar.”

Giving the assurance that his Ministry would be assisting to ensure the best for athletes “going forward”, he urged the school to include an Honour Wall at the location, as a reminder of their athletes’ legacy, and expressed the hope that this would occur at other schools.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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