After three years of monthly meetings attended by faculty members, parents and community supporters, the ECC Training Center has become a reality. The Center was envisioned as a place for post-graduate students of Every Child Counts to work and contribute to the community.
Thanks to volunteers, among them Richard Schlitt and forty youngsters from Youth on a Mission, an organization from Vero Beach, FL, local Pastor Erlyn Baillou, Mel Brice of Complex Plumbing, parents and other community members who donated their time during the summer, the ECC Training Center is ready for the new school year.
The construction was primarily made possible thanks to large monetary donation from abroad which helped jump-start the project together along with donated local funds and construction materials offered by local businesses such as Standard Hardware and Big Cat.
Dignitaries such as Archbishop Patrick Pinder (the Chairman of the Catholic Board of Education), Lambert Langley (the Director of Catholic Education), Claudette Rolle, (the Political / Economic Officer representing the Embassy of the United States in Nassau), and Yancy W. Caruthers were among the people who traveled to Marsh Harbour to join the many local government officials, business owners and supporters who attended the inauguration ceremony of Every Child Counts’ Training Center on Thursday, September 26.
Upon their arrival on that balmy morning, the guests gathered outside the building while Archbishop Pinder enunciated a prayer and blessed the premises. Choirs from the primary and the secondary school divisions performed songs as people waited for an invitation to go in.
The guests were accompanied up a few steps and seated in one of the spacious rooms of the Center. Soon the moderator, student Anastasia Sawyer, took the microphone to introduce the speakers and performers taking part in the joyful ceremony. There were songs sung and mimed by the younger kids, poems read by Rosemerline Baptiste and Deverose Laurand, more songs by the high school students and remarks by many guests, faculty members and students
The first among the speakers, Archbishop Pinder, expressed his pleasure to be back at the school and acknowledged the work accomplished, thanking Lyn Major and the people who assisted her.
A faculty member, Marsden Lawley, invited students to talk about the meaning the school had for them. They all expressed their heartfelt appreciation of the organization, saying that the school was a second home where they felt respected, loved and encouraged.
Dr. Lenora Black, Abaco District of Education Superintendent, commended Mrs. Major and the staff at ECC for facing the challenge “of teaching kids who learn differently.” She stated she had a personal stake at ECC through her nephew Alonso Williams, a former student who now works at Baker’s Bay. She said that a lesson in compassion and empathy had to be learned from the school.
Truman Major invited the students to approach the business community for help since. He also urged them to respect themselves in order to receive respect in return where ever they went.
In his address, Pastor Knowles, President of the Christian Council, described Lyn Major, the school Director, as “a person on a mission.”
The United States Representative, Mr. Yancy W. Caruthers, also shared an anecdote with the audience about a friend of his, a little slow in academics but an indispensable help to the town’s fire department manned by volunteers.
Lastly, Mrs. Major gave a short history on how the Training Center – a place for those who could not join the work force – was envisioned. Together with teachers and parents, she felt a responsibility for those who could not care for themselves. After three years of discussing possible locations, looking at building plans and devising ways of collecting funds for the project, she explained that things fell into place a year ago in the form of a large donation.
Pastor Baillou then took the contracting job (for free) and others stepped in.
As she mentioned Pastor Baillou, people raised as one to give him a standing ovation. She also mentioned the Youth on a Mission group, who came to Abaco and in a week had the walls up and the building under roof.
“It is a comfort to know that when we are gone, the children will have a home,” she said.
She concluded by announcing the success of a student, Ronell Escarment, who had entered the Bahamas Arts Festival Choir competition. He placed first in a tie with a youth from Grand Bahama. He will travel to Nassau to sing in the final.
The ceremony was followed by refreshments in another spacious room. Students served lemonade and iced-tea. Near the baked goods and light refreshments table, people enjoyed pastries baked by well-wishers and socialized while admiring the murals painted by two students, Destiniqua McIntosh and Tanneisha Dawkins.