Fifty years in the life of an institution may seem short to some, but for the Springer Memorial School, which has significantly impacted so many lives, this is an important milestone.

This was the common sentiment expressed by those who addressed the Birthday Celebration of the Government Hill institution today, which also saw the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate its 50th anniversary .

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, told the gathering of alumni, students, teachers, parents and guardians that it was not age that made us good but what we did during that period of getting there.

???It is during that period of what we do that truly testifies as to who we are and what we intend to be,??? he stressed, noting that Springer was a school he was truly proud of, as he had always been given the full support of the principal and teachers during his tenure.

Noting that when the idea of a sixth form came to mind, consideration was given to Springer, along with St. Leonard???s Boys??? and The Alexandra School, the Education Minister said: ???I was extremely blown away by the quality of the presentation which was put before me, the Permanent Secretary and the Chief Education Officer, in relation to how Springer Memorial was going to go about this task. And, therefore at the end of the presentation I said ???you are ready to go???.???

He said he had no hesitation whatsoever, as it had been so seamlessly and brilliantly done. Minister Jones stressed that the country had to look up to its young people and train them in like manner as Springer had done. However, he pointed out that they had first to respect themselves and demand the necessary respect so they could fulfil life???s journey.

Acknowledging that it was not easy being a female with all of the pressure placed on them today, he told the students that they could take the lead from those who had been a part of the institution and had excelled in every avenue of life.

Mr. Jones, a former teacher, also urged the girls to continue to be guiding lights and to encourage the young men along. ???All of you must continue to hold that torch; continue to let your school see that you are such a brilliant example of what decent women of integrity should be and how you can impact your world in ways not hitherto seen because there is so much opportunity that you can grasp???,??? he said, while speaking glowingly of the school???s many successes.

Principal Pauline Benjamin, in echoing similar sentiments said: ???So many young ladies would have passed through this institution and would have benefited from the instruction received here. We are indeed grateful to past principals and teachers who would have sought to influence lives in a positive way during those 50 years.???

She welcomed alumni from here and abroad and said that they could be found making significant contributions in all walks of life all over the globe. The students were also told that they needed to appreciate the history and rich legacy of their school.??

Mrs. Benjamin said the unveiling of the plaque and celebration of 50 years was important, as it afforded them a chance to look back at the history and be inspired to make a worthwhile contribution, and leave a legacy for which they could be proud.

In expressing her satisfaction with the sixth form, introduced last year, she said: ???We are poised to have our first students sitting the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications examinations in Cosmetology this term. So, we are dealing with that aspect of competency-based education as well as preparing students to function productively in the 21st century.???

Meanwhile, student Markayla Smith-Rock, in outlining the school???s history, noted that it had opened its doors in September 1964 to approximately 300 students and 13 members of staff, including ancillary workers. However, it was officially opened on October 1, by the Acting Governor, Commander in Chief of the island, His Excellency Sir Hugh W. Springer.

Explaining that since then students had gone on and excelled in a variety of areas she said these included sports, business, and home management.

She observed: ???During its 50 years of existence this school has produced many outstanding citizens ??? young ladies who can be found in every sphere of Barbadian life ??? law; ministry, medicine, every area of education, fashion design, dance, cosmetology, small business management, food and beverage, construction, agriculture and creative arts.???

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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