The Honourable Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, said that when they visited Abaco a few weeks ago they were concerned about some structural issues at Abaco Central High School, and he wanted to ensure that they were addressed.
During his return on August 23, there were one or two remaining issues, however, Min. Fitzgerald said they expected to start painting the school by that weekend to ensure that it was “spruced up and ready for the students when they came back to school.”
Throughout the repair season, District Superintendent Dr. Lenora Black said they were particularly pleased because of the partnerships with persons in the community who have gone over and beyond their scope of work to include additional items in the repairs.
Additionally, they have established a partnership with the Dept. of Social Services and the Magistrate’s Court for students who would have been given community services for minor offences.
“Those persons are going to assist us in the final stages of preparation for back to school namely the painting and the yard cleaning,” Dr. Black said. “They’re delighted to serve in that way, and so we’re pleased about that.”
She had a special message for parents for the upcoming academic school year.
“We want parents to know that the extent to which our schools are successful speaks directly to the extent of their involvement in the lives of our children, so we invite them right at the very outset to become actively involved in the life of the school,” she expressed. “Further, we also want them to wholeheartedly embrace our one goal that being the pursuit of excellence for each student in each classroom in each school.”
To the 184 teachers who have been employed for this year, the excitement that she felt from them the following day encouraged her to look forward to seeing groundbreaking results.
“Coming to the Abaco district is a group of young individuals who are passionately concerned for the success of this nation, firstly the success of the students at the classroom level, so I’m excited as to what this new year will hold for education.”
Meanwhile, Belinda Wilson, president of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT), was pleased about Min. Fitzgerald’s proactive approach in coming to see firsthand what was happening at the school.
“Recently between 2005 and 2010, we did a lot of sit-ins for the state of the building and there was a fire, and it took forever for the building to be built, so we’re happy that the staff room is there along with the administrative block,” she recalled. “They’ve done the repairs that we’re quite aware of because there were spallings coming from this building and cracks in the columns, so we’re glad that those repairs are done.”
Final remarks were made by Charles Wildgoose, president of Bahamas Educators Managerial Union (BEMU), who was joined by Ishmael Smith, a union executive. Speaking to administrators who are BEMU members, he said that after their last meeting they have been working diligently on their behalf.
“I know that you will continue to make Abaco Central a school of great example and promise,” Mr. Wildgoose encouraged. “To all the parents and the students of Abaco and of this school, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented to this school because together we as Bahamians will do well.”
The remainder of the visit took place in North Abaco where Min. Fitzgerald visited Cooper’s Town Primary, S.C. Bootle High School, and Treasure Cay Primary.