Magnificent colors coupled with synchronized choreography, pulsating music and wonder helped to transform the heart of Downtown, Pioneer’s Way, as the City of Freeport Council (CFC) hosted the 19th Annual Junior Junkanoo Parade on Saturday, February 10.
When the confetti settled and the drums stilled, the winners were announced.
In the Preschool Division, Growing Years came away with the win, securing a total of 2,078 points; in the Primary Division Martin Town Primary took the win with 3,911 points; in the All Age Division - Bishop Michael Eldon School was named the winner with 3,970 points; Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High took the Junior High Division with 3,675 and St. George’s walked away with the Secondary Division title with a total of 4,242 points.
Twenty-eight schools participated in the highly anticipated event that had been delayed for two weeks due to inclement weather, which initially proved frustrating; however, it was later touted as a blessing because schools had a little more time to prepare.
Hundreds gathered from near and far to attend the CFC 19th Annual Junior Junkanoo Parade Opening Ceremony hosted by Karen Ferguson-Bain, who graciously invited Grand Bahama Junkanoo Committee Co-Chairman Kevin Russell and Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture Officer, Ellery Deveaux to welcome all and officially open the event.
Noticeably absent on the parade roster was Jack Hayward Senior High School, Freeport Primary School and Maurice E. Moore Primary School as well as Michael Pintard, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture.
However, Deveaux conveyed regards on Pintard’s behalf. stating, “Firstly, I would like to offer apologies on behalf of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard, who is in New Providence engaged in two ceremonies and hopes to be here before long to enjoy the Junior Junkanoo Parade with you.
“Of course, we understand that there were challenges experienced due to the weather, which prevented the 19th Annual City of Freeport Council (CFC) Junior Junkanoo Parade from occurring as scheduled two weeks ago; however, today has proven to be simply beautiful.
“So I too invite you all to enjoy this Junior Junkanoo Parade, which I now declare officially open.”
Yvonne Ward, District Superintendent of Education for East Grand Bahama and the Cays offered apologies on behalf of those schools revealing that there are myriad reasons attributing to the absence of the schools.
“Jack Hayward Senior High School, Freeport Primary School and Maurice E. Moore Primary School unfortunately are not participating in this 19th Annual City of Freeport Council (CFC) Junior Junkanoo Parade and personally, I believe, it is due in part to the fact that these schools have new principals and they would like to assess the situation overall.
“As new principals, I am of the view that they each may have wanted to assess the academic performance of students overall versus participating in the Junior Junkanoo Parade and should students bring up their grade point average then the school would participate next year.
“Based on my past experience when I first became a principal, I vividly recall that my school did not participate in the Junior Junkanoo Parade that first year so I would like to extend apologies for their absence understanding that there are sound reasons why these three schools are not performing.
“Nevertheless, from all that I have witnessed thus far, this Junior Junkanoo Parade will once again arrive at yet another plateau of success,” said Ward.
Enjoying the festivities of Junior Junkanoo, Minister for Grand Bahama Senator J. Kwasi Thompson barely contained his excitement both with the number of schools participating as well as the quality, level and hard work put into the overall execution of each theme showcased by the preschoolers right through to senior high school.
“Indeed, today is a very good one for the young people of Grand Bahama as they participate in this 19th Annual City of Freeport Council (CFC) Junior Junkanoo Parade, which is shaping up to be a huge success.
“Hundreds of students representing 26 schools are either participating in the parade or are here with their parents and guardians cheering on their peers.
“More importantly, this 19th Annual City of Freeport Council (CFC) Junior Junkanoo Parade shows that the culture is alive and well on Grand Bahama and I am very proud of the schools, as they have taken this quite seriously, spending a lot of money, time and effort to be rush ready.
“Definitely I must extend congratulations to the schools, principals, teachers, students and parents who have all worked together to ensure that this event is a success.
“Additionally, special thanks must be extended to the CFC, GBJC and the wider Grand Bahama community; there are huge crowds here that includes tourists from all over the world who are enjoying this display of Bahamian culture.
“Personally, I believe it is a masterful success especially as far as the weather is concerned just as meteorologist Kirk James declared.
“From my vantage point no one is concerned about the initial postponement of the Junior Junkanoo Parade everyone is having a good time enjoying our culture and as the Minister for Grand Bahama I am cheering on all schools especially our little darlings,” said Senator Thompson.