“Excellence for All…Yes, We Say So!” was the theme expressed at the Support Staff Appreciation Ceremony held on March 13 binding its members to a collective goal with all schools situated within the Department of Education’s Abaco school district.
Numerous clerical staff and facility managers gathered at St. Andrews Methodist Hall for the ceremony. After Education Officer Ruth Smith encouraged everyone to introduce themselves, Freddie McIntosh, groundsman for the S.C. Bootle High School and Coopers Town Primary School, was introduced as the moderator.
McIntosh shared the words of Psalm 8 with his colleagues as the program progressed. During his welcoming remarks, Colin Curry, maintenance worker at Abaco Central High School, told his colleagues that it was great to work among them.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lenora Black, district superintendent of the Dept. of Education, expressed her distinct honour in serving among such a wonderful group of facility managers. She reflected on the Book of Nehemiah, and talked about how he was seen as a builder in his day. His work was done with such speed, precision and meticulous care that it baffled many.
She recognized that work was accomplished in Nehemiah’s day because people had a mind to work.
“I feel good about this gathering here today,” Dr. Black said, as she commended the support staff for their professionalism. “You set the tone of excellence, and so I applaud you today.
“We value you as service givers not only to the students, and the staff, but to the community at large,” she continued. “It is a privilege to serve; and it takes a special brand of individuals to serve the public.”
Dr. Black said that the support staff was also there that day to learn about the rules and regulations or code of conduct for the public service sector; their job descriptions; and to solidify and strengthen the bond among facility managers.
“Together we make public service what it is.”
Greetings were extended by Administrator Gregory Knowles, who said that when you can recognize and appreciate people it is indeed the most important thing that can be done.
Toward the afternoon session, support staff members were asked to participate in an ice breaker led by Starlene Prenelus of the Dept. of Education, who asked them to sing “Smile a While.” She then shared some amusing jokes with them.
Marjorie McIntosh of S.C. Bootle sang: “May the Work You’ve Done Speak for You.”
Tracey Simmons from the Administrators Office spoke on Human Resource Matters. She began by telling a story about a woman working at a walk-in clinic, who had to ensure that the place was well kept. Every time she would read the comments on the survey board, she was pleased to see that the Housekeeping Department always earned 100 percent.
To everyone’s surprise, Simmons revealed that it was her story.
Standing before them, Simmons said she was familiar with what they experience as support staff. She said that there are always opportunities to pull from the workplace, and to take ideas from other places to make your work environment better.
Simmons went on to talk about Standard Operating Procedures then outlined guidelines for local and central government in the workplace according to the Employment Act 2011. Sick leave, salary cuts, abuse of vacation leave, signing in and signing out (benefits), and lunch hour were among the items mentioned.