A Thanksgiving and Recognition Service took place at Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS) on Nov. 27. During the service, Beatrice Charlton was honoured for 41 years of service as an educator.
Grade 1 students began the ceremony with a “Welcome” acrostic, followed by a poetic recitation by pre-schoolers. Both Grade 5 and third grade students contributed musical selections that were complimented by a sign language presentation. Another poem was recited by the school’s Culture Club.
Finally, the performances were rounded out by a liturgical dance by Grade 6 students, and a selection by the school choir.
As the speaker for the occasion, Principal Beatrice Moxey brought timely remarks to the audience on being thankful, and she explained the origin of Thanksgiving.
“Today we are here to say thanks to an extraordinary person in the person of Mrs. Beatrice Charlton,” she exclaimed. “Boys and girls as we are here today, and we look back over 41 years she was in the service in helping to mold students like yourselves, she started from pre-school. She went to Grade 1, she went to Grade 5, and she went to different grade levels.
“Some of your parents were right in the back there with her,” she said pointing in the direction of the classrooms. “She left there, and she went to Mayaguana, but she had a longing to come back to Abaco. She wanted to come back to the home of the Soaring Eagles.”
As the honouree, Charlton was also invited to give her remarks where she mentioned having celebrated another birthday on Nov.25. Still, she said it was a bittersweet time because she had lost her mother 20 years ago on the day after her birthday, and now each year, she would reflect on her retirement from education during the same week.
Charlton also spoke of her days of growing up in Mayaguana as a child and having to read by lamp and go to the well for water.
“You children have it good. Learn all you can, and stop being rude; [say] yes ma’am, no ma’am,” she advised. “I’m getting off the scene and making space for the younger teachers, but I don’t know if they are going to pull 41 years. Teachers do all you can.”
She concluded: “I give God thanks and praise for this day, and I have two of my children here (Odell and Bonica). I am thankful that I lived to see today because we have many young teachers who have passed on.”
Special presentations were made on behalf of the school, the Department of Education and the Bahamas Union of Teachers to Charlton on her retirement. The ceremony ended with an announcement concerning the distribution of Thanksgiving items and a lively Junkanoo rush out.