Winning the National volleyball championship was no small feat, but for the Agape Christian School’s Lady Eagles the path they walked led them there as they had raced through the volleyball season undefeated, and won twenty six games in the last three years.
However playing in Grand Bahama during the weekend of November 16 against teams from much larger schools and keeping their winning streak was an achievement definitely worthy of special recognition.
A recognition that they received not only by being driven through Marsh Harbour in a motorcade but also by being the stars of a formal ceremony during which a representative of the Ministry of Education congratulated each member of the team personally.
On December 12, parents, teachers and supporters, among whom Mr. Errol Wisdom – Director of Youth within the Ministry of Education, gathered at the parking lot of Agape Christian School’s Grace Gymnasium.
Led by the Marsh Harbour Police Jeep and the pink MHVFD fire truck, the Lady Eagles team with their Head Coach Stephan Johnson, rode in a motorcade that comprised several automobiles, vans and trucks- one of them with photographers from ZNS and the Ministry of Education- through Don Mackay Boulevard, turning left at the traffic light and left again in Dundas Town past Long Bay School to Forest Drive and back to Agape Christian School, as people lined the streets, some waving, some taking photos.
Upon their return to Grace Gymnasium, the entire body of students cheered to welcome them back.
A room full of supporters gave the team and the coaches a standing ovation as they climbed to the podium invited by Troy Albury acting as emcee for the occasion. A standing ovation lasted the entirety of Mr. Albury’s introduction of each team member individually.
Lady Eagle, Mikayla Marshall, welcomed the assembly acknowledging the representatives of the Ministry of Education, Wisdom from Nassau, and locally Huel Moss District Officer, as well as the President of the Abaco School Sports Association, Christine Jenoure and Carolyn Forbes, a representative of The Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation, a sponsor of the program.
True to the Christian principles of her school, she gave thanks to God for the team’s achievements not only for winning the local title three years in a row, but also for being “ecstatic that God allowed us to win the National Championship.”
Before handing over the stage to Mr. Wisdom, Mr. Albury proudly stated: “we made history: the first small school to win the National Championship.”
Mr. Wisdom first communicated the congratulations of the Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, before acknowledging the school’s Principal Cecile Albury for her Christian qualities.
After outlining the awards planned for the team and the school at the event, he said that he “wanted to do more special things for the school of less than one hundred students that beat schools of more than one thousand students.” He then spoke of making a documentary on the Lady Eagles that would cost forty thousand dollars to produce and asked for local assistance of ten thousand dollars from the local community to put the project under way.
“I think that Abaco has the resources to immortalize these young ladies,” he stated.
“On behalf of the Minister of Education and the whole country, we congratulate you.”
Certificates, medals and trophies were then distributed.
Mr. Moss reminisced on the excitement he felt as he followed the game in Freeport as Mr. Carwright and Mrs. Albury texted him about the progress of the championship.
“You stole the light and brought it back home,” he said, addressing the team
Raquel Albury, the team captain, then gave a brief history of the team acknowledging all the coaches who contributed their time and dedication, starting with Coach Rich Roberts, then the last of them, Coach Johnson who started three years ago, assisted by Coaches Craig Ricky and Randy Davis.
“Nothing would have been possible without Coach Johnson.” Addressing him, she added “you told us to work together and because of this 2017 will be a memory we’ll never forget.”
Stephan Johnson congratulated his team and thanked all the teachers and the principal for their support.
Mrs. Albury explained that God’s plan for Agape that she discussed with her husband Troy Albury and Vice Principal Cathy Sawyer was to incorporate track & field, volleyball, basketball and crafts with the academic curriculum. She reminisced about the trip to Freeport on the ferry that they shared with Patrick J Bethel High School’s senior boys Marlins, saying that Abaco was represented in the most fantastic way by these two schools.
The Lady Marlins did not make it to the nationals but the senior boys took the fourth place in the country.
Deanna McDonald held the title of best defense player and Raquel Albury of best setter.
Each member of the team, including the coaches, were then handed out a Samsung cell phone by Mrs. Forbes on behalf of BTC.
Before the end of the ceremony, which culminated with the unveiling of the banner especially made for ACS as a token of recognition by the Ministry of Education, Mr. Wisdom announced that he would propose a bid for Abaco being the host of the 2018 National Volleyball Championship.