Celebrated annually on the second Monday of March, Commonwealth Day, is an international observance of the over 50 member countries, whose belief is the commitment of member states to develop free and democratic societies as well as the promotion of peace and prosperity, ultimately improving the lives of all persons residing within the Commonwealth.
This year’s theme, ‘A peace building Commonwealth’ was the focus of many special assemblies held at various schools across the country, as The Bahamas is a proud member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Jack Hayward Junior High School was one such learning institutions on the island that hosted a special assembly in honor of Commonwealth Day.
Coral Johnson, Senior Mistress, JHJHS disclosed the significance of hosting the assembly in which the students played an integral role in its success.
“Today is Commonwealth Day and we are having our special Commonwealth Day Assembly. In addition, we have taken this opportunity to invite our former staff members, those who have left us this school year, who were reassigned elsewhere. We decided to invite them back to show them our love and appreciation. Some of them have joined us for this special assembly as well,” revealed Johnson.
“The fitting thing is that the theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day is, ‘A peace building Commonwealth.’ We thought that was so appropriate because, when we look back on our efforts in trying to unite us here as one body; although some of the staff here today left us, they are still a part of us. We are still on one team, representing the educational system within The Bahamas; the theme speaks to that. We are on the right track because we are carrying out that peace building spirit in remaining peaceful with those whom have left.”
She added that as some current staff members originate from other Commonwealth nations, other than The Bahamas, a special tribute was made to them as well, as their national anthems were played during the ceremony.
“We have lots of items on our program. During the national anthem portion we played the national anthem of all of the Commonwealth countries represented here, on our staff, namely, Guyana, Jamaica, India, and Britain. Following the assembly, those teachers representing those countries as well as our Bahamian teachers brought some dish, mainly from our native culture, where we will be having a luncheon following this assembly, therefore we will continue in the Commonwealth spirit.”
Sharing remarks during the special assembly Shennan Rolle, JHJHS principal expressed how pleased she was of the students and their efforts during the celebratory assembly.
“Today, March 13, 2017, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will join with 52 member countries of the Commonwealth, to observe Commonwealth Day, under the theme ‘Celebrating a peace building Commonwealth.’ This is such a fitting and timely theme for the times that we are experiencing and are living in. This theme signifies the shared vision and focus of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth. Each one of us, seated here today, has the shared responsibility to contribute towards peace building. We are called to be peace builders in our homes, our schools, our workplaces, our communities, in our nation, and, by extension, the world.
“The Right Honorable Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, in her Commonwealth address asked us to imagine the impact we can make as a Commonwealth of 2.4 billion people, in over 50 countries, by saying ‘No’ to abuse or violence in our homes, taking action against all forms of violence, against women, men and children’ making bullying unacceptable in our schools or workplace and ensuring that senior citizens are safe from intimidation.
“She advocates that a peace loving Commonwealth starts with each one of us taking individual responsibility, then joining with others so that mutual respect and encouragement we share the good from home, to community, then ever more widely to the world.”
Additionally, Rolle expressed how pleased she was to have the opportunity to once again say thank you to the former staff members that returned to celebrate with them.
“We are happy today to honor some of our former stars in the persons of Dr. Virginia Romer, Janice Pinder our former Vice Principals and our former District Superintendent, Dorothy Kemp-Anderson. We are so excited to have a few other former staff members here with us today as well, who have gone on to different ventures in their lives. We want to pay tribute to them and show them that we appreciate all that they have done in the growth and success of JHJHS.”
Dorothy Kemp-Anderson, now serving as District Superintendent, Northeastern District for New Providence shared her thoughts on the special invitation to return to the JHJHS campus for her tribute.
“I was elated when Ms. Rolle called me. There is always a saying in education that you do not get your flowers while you are alive. We do not look for it because you see it in the children, especially when they are grown and doing so well within the community. When they can come up to you and say, ‘Thank you for making a difference in my life’.
“JHJHS is very special to me because I was here when they first started, just a few years ago. We came into an empty shell; to see JHJHS now, the progress that has been made, through Principal Rolle and the teachers, it is a blessing. It warms my heart to see how far they have come, especially as it relates to the infrastructure and providing the means and the opportunities for the children to really preform and to do well academically. I am proud to say that I was a part of the school board, which saw to the development; it is a honor and a privilege to be here today, and I am grateful that they have invited me back at this time.”
Questioned how her new role has been, as of September 15 of last year, Kemp-Anderson answered, “I am still District Superintendent, but now for the North Eastern District in New Providence. It is different; God has enlarged my territory. It is huge; I supervise about 15 schools that are inclusive of pre-schools and the special programs. The schools in Nassau have huge numbers, which is the most significant difference. The work is still the same, opportunities to give, and to serve,” noted Kemp-Anderson.
Sharon Rolle, former security officer at JHJHS was also honored and was questioned how it felt to be invited to attend the special assembly and luncheon to thank her for her service to the learning institution.
“I love this. I really came back for the kids; I miss the kids. Most of these kids came from different schools that I have worked at over the years. I have watched kids as young as five years old, some in the senior schools now, 17 and 18. I have been around for a while; I always wanted to watch them grow into adulthood.
“I miss them and the school, the comradery, the good times that we shared here; but, things came up and I was transferred to another school. But, anytime they invite me back, I will be back,” concluded Rolle. Rolle shared that she was a proud member of the JHJHS staff since its inception.
Published Tuesday, March, 14, 2017