Minister of Education, Curtis King has called on the students of the St. Vincent Grammar School, and by extension the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), to be guided by the lessons of their heritage.
He told the students at their morning assembly on Monday, March 28 to not only look at their heritage, but also “to study it in such a way that we can extract what is good, what is great about that heritage, so that we can use those good things and those great things to help us to do even better in our everyday life circumstances.”
The former Grammar School Headmaster told the young men, “we must use our heritage to enhance our living circumstances. We have a wonderful heritage, whether as citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or as students of the St. Vincent Grammar School. We must acknowledge that heritage, and not only acknowledge it, we must celebrate it too.”
King, who was invited by the school’s Heritage Club to address that morning’s assembly said that when one speaks of their heritage they are speaking about anything tangible or intangible, things that one can see and touch, or things you cannot see and touch.
“Everything that has gone by that is from the past which we have inherited is part of our heritage. Whatever we inherited from our fore-parents forms part of our heritage,” King added, noting that the preparation of meals as well as the dances are all part of that heritage.
King told the assembled students and staff that there are many things which persons take for granted but which form part of the Vincentian heritage, such as foods grown, La Soufriere volcano, Fort Charlotte, and many primary schools and secondary schools. Some of the primary schools have been in operation since the 1840s.
He pointed to the St. Vincent Grammar School which began operations in 1908, “but this is not the first Grammar School. We had a grammar school which started from the 1850s.”
The minister, who is a historian said “we need to have the knowledge of these things and how they can be used to further our own development. We need to look at our heritage and take inspiration from it.”
King spoke of the heritage of the St. Vincent Grammar School, which has made a significant mark on the educational and sporting landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The school has won more Boys Division titles at the Inter-Secondary Athletics Championships in the fifty-year history of that event than any other educational institution in SVG, dating back to the first meet held in 1966 which was won by the St. Vincent Grammar School. This year is the fiftieth year of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Inter-Secondary School Athletics Championships, and the school has won about 40 of those championships.
Additionally, the St. Vincent Grammar School is the only school in SVG to have produced a student who topped the regional CXC examinations which started in 1979, in the person of Kamal Wood.
And the four prime ministers who have sat at the head of government in SVG have all been students of the St. Vincent Grammar School, King pointed out.
“You have to go out there and make your own mark. You have to know that to inspire you to do good,” King advised the students.
The education minister helped found the school’s Heritage Club when he served as a member of its staff.