Past and present students come together to celebrate 50 years
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January 31, 2014

Past and present students come together to celebrate 50 years

There was not an empty pew at the St George’s Cathedral on Monday, January 27, when the Bishop’s College Kingstown (BCK) celebrated in fine style, its 50th anniversary.{{more}}

The thanksgiving service held under the theme: “Celebrating 50 years of moulding individuals and communities academically, socially, morally and spiritually”, saw alumni, past principals, teachers, and other past and present members of the school in attendance; some even donning BCK memorabilia.

The service, which was originally scheduled for January 20, signalled the official start of the 50th anniversary celebration programme of activities which will conclude on July 15.

Through the initiative and endeavours of the late Right Reverend Harold Grant Piggott, and the support of the Anglican community in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the school opened its doors to provide secondary education on January 20, 1964.

At that time, approximately 180 students, drawn mainly from among those who had failed to gain acceptance to the two Government secondary schools, became the first intake. There were six forms and The Reverend Overton Gilkes served as the institution’s first principal with six members added to the staff at that time.

Speaking at the event, the first past student to become principal, Cecelia Akers-King, highlighting some of the school’s history, described the initial years of the institution as a period of trial and error, with a number of attempts made to correct various problems.

However Akers-King stated that the period of the 1970s and 80s was the school’s turning point.

Akers-King mentioned that technical vocation subjects were introduced. She also stated that Agricultural Science was introduced and became a model for all schools and noted that BCK was a registered banana grower.

In fact, Bishop’s College is the only urban secondary institution with an agriculture and poultry program on their curriculum.

The proud principal also boasted about the school’s prowess in sports, especially football, which saw the school being crowned champion three times in eight years.

Mention was also made of teacher Doddrige Small, a past student of the school, who at the time wrote the Cambridge A’ Level examinations in the school’s sixth form and has been at the school for the past 26 years.

Small is presently writing for his masters in Education Administration.

Perhaps one of the school’s greatest achievements came in 2012, when past student Lexi Selman captured the Lion’s Club St Vincent South Secondary Schools National Public Speaking Competition for the first time in the school’s history.

Eight principals have served the school since the start. Four of them were present at the service and received thunderous applause from the large congregation.

Some of the past principals included Valerie Cato, Samantha Rouse and Pamela Anderson (acting).

“I stand on the shoulders of these giants. Without their gifts of talent, time and love, this milestone could not have been reached. I am the one standing here this evening, but they are the ones who established the foundation,” Akers-King, who has spent 36 years at the institution, said.

Over the years, the school has undergone several facelifts and has added additional wings to the building.

Today, the school boasts a population of 438 students.

“We are going to continue to work toward being the co-ed school of first choice. Additionally, we will continue to help to guide our students academically, morally, socially, while pointing them to life’s greatest reward, that of living a life of purpose,” Akers-King said.

She thanked the Bishop Leopold Friday, Dean Patrick McIntosh – chair of the Board of Governors, and the Government for their support over the years.

“I have been through all the ranks of the school and have spent 36 of its 50 years there. This is much more than a job for me, every day I am reminded of the awesome responsibility that God has entrusted into my hands — that of helping to shape 438 of his children for his purpose… I will continue to serve with gratitude and humility. It’s a pleasure serving my alma mater,” Akers-King stated.

As the service went along, some of the past students could be heard engaging in conversation about their time at the school and catching up with old friends.

The hugs and laughter were non-stop when the passing of peace was announced.

Delivering the sermon, the Venerable J Everton Weekes said the theme is testament to the valuable ministry that the school has undertaken over the years.

Weekes said the Bishop’s College alumni have contributed and continue to contribute to national development in every professional and vocational area of the advancement of the nation and in the diaspora.

“The future quality of students Bishop College Kingstown graduate, will be pivotal to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ future progress and development,” he added.

The Very Right Reverend Patrick E McIntosh, Dean of the St George’s Cathedral and chair of the Board of Governors of Bishop’s College Kingstown, lauded the efforts of the late founder, stating that Bishop Piggott took a lot of God’s children out of ignorance and suffering.

“He also wanted a place of learning with a spirituality that can transform the lives of the young minds that entered the school… let nothing undermine our ability to engage the world…,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh urged the students to maximize on the education revolution and further implored the Board of Governors to press on with the school to strive for excellence.

The Right Reverend C Leopold Friday, Bishop of the Windward Islands said Bishop Piggott’s vision must be seen from a wider perspective.

“A wider perspective which is based on our belief as Anglicans that we have been called by God to participate in his mission and part of this mission is to be involved in education,” Friday stated.

He thanked other Bishops, past principals, staff, students for their contribution over the years.

“Those who have gone before us have left us with a goodly heritage. It is important for us to ensure that we leave a goodly heritage for those who come after us… We’ll endeavour to pave the way that those who come after us will benefit from what Bishop’s College offers.”

Sharing brief remarks, St Clair Leacock, Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown, congratulated the school on its achievement and for the contribution it has made to the nation’s development over the years.

Frederick Stephenson, Minister of National Mobilization also shared brief comments.

The congregation was also serenaded by a beautiful duet, done by Ronnie Richardson and Roxanne James.

Rodney Small, perhaps the most talented steelpan player to walk through the gates of the school, wooed those gathered with his smooth presentation on the steelpan.

Songs were also done by the Pioneer student choir and the school’s choir.

Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams, Andrea Bowman, headteacher of the Girls’ High School, along with other government officials were also in attendance.

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