??Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (far right)??has a conversation with Ellerslie student, Toshawn Griffith??in front of newly installed principal, Captain Errol Braithwaite while touring the Ellerslie Secondary School in St. Michael today. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Students at the Ellerslie Secondary School in Black Rock have been urged by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, to take pride in their uniform, their institution and themselves.

This advice, which Mr. Jones hinted should resonate with students across the island, was given during today’s assembly as the Minister congratulated new Principal Captain Errol Brathwaite on his achievement.

He noted that it was important for the student population to say "we belong to the greatest secondary school in Barbados".?? He said, "[To say], we belong to Ellerslie and we wear our uniforms and our epaulettes with pride so that when we go into the highways and byways of Barbados that all of those on the outside who see us when they speak of our school and when they speak about how we carry our uniform; they speak with a sense of pride [saying] ???I want my child to belong to the Ellerslie School Family’.

The school was told that the public could only do so "if the student population did those things which will lift the standard of the school up". This, Mr. Jones noted, not only referred to academic, technical and vocational studies, extra-curricular and sporting endeavours, "but also in your discipline, your character – what you project both at school and out of school and, I dare say, it has a lot to do with what you project very strongly in your out-of-school behaviour," Mr. Jones maintained.

Referring to a recent picture carried in one of the daily newspapers, Mr. Jones said he was saddened by the action of a student "shedding" his shirt. The former educator added,"he (the student) had disrobed himself in the callous disregard for the dignity of his school’s attire; I was sad because it was a reflection of the notion that ???I am a bad boy."

Stressing that this was not an image to be portrayed by Ellerslie students, he explained: "There is a reason why we dress our children in uniforms; it is to carry the prestige of our schools; it is to help lift our schools up in the eyes of the wider public. But, when some one behaves as though they don’t care – ???so I can take my epaulettes off, I can pull my shirt out, I can take my clothes off and just be dressed in a vest’ – it says a lot about the individual or individuals."

The consequences of not having a sense of pride were also outlined by Minister Jones.?? He encouraged the students to first "be proud of themselves because if I cannot be proud of myself, I will not be proud of anything else; I will not be proud of my family, my school or my country because it must first begin with me,"

Pledging the Ministry’s "full support" for Mr. Brathwaite, Mr. Jones pointed out that the "young" principal’s task "could be made easier with the support of the student body at the school". He told the children that no individual placed in charge of a large or small institution had the capacity to do it alone.

"The task of leading is never easy; there are so many things which come up that are not planned for. There are so many challenges that present themselves, which, as a leader, you have to deal with; And, unless you have the full support of all of the staff – both the teaching staff and the support staff of the school [as well as] those who work to ensure the school looks good and clean then as a leader he will be open to failure," t underlined he Education Minister.

Captain Errol Brathwaite, also an officer in command of senior cadet training in the Barbados Cadet Corps, took up the post of Principal at Ellerslie Secondary School from September 1, this year.



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