Mrs. Elizabeth Moses, the oldest living alumnus cuts the ribbon to officially open the school. Photo: Edgar Arnette
Nassau, Bahamas - Members of the South Bahamas Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists celebrated the official opening of the New Bahamas Academy located on Marshall Road in southern New Providence on Sunday, November 17, 2013. The ceremony culminated the Centennial Anniversary of the school which was started in 1912 by two missionaries in a lodge hall on Meeting Street. The present school opened its doors at its location on 9th2011.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were Phillip Davis, Acting Prime Minister; Dr. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Opposition; Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology; Dr. Andre Rollins, Member of Parliament for the Fort Charlotte Constituency; Dr. Trevor Gardner, President of Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica; Dr. Leonard Johnson, President of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists; Dr. Hugh Roach, the first Bahamian Principal of Bahamas Academy and Retired Chief Justice Sir Cyril Fountain.
Minister Fitzgerald brought remarks on behalf of Prime Minister Perry Christie who was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Sri Lanka. The Minister commended the Adventists for building up this ministry in education which was started 100 years ago by two missionaries from abroad.
He further thanked them for their stewardship and partnership in educating the children of The Bahamas and acknowledged that many Bahamas Academy graduates were leaders who had advanced The Bahamas through their service.
“We must accept that the opening of the New Bahamas Academy is more than an opening of a school; it is a commitment to God. Through it, God’s people will be empowered people with knowledge to serve Him, experience self-determination and live a better quality of life,” Minister Fitzgerald stated. In highlighting the role of Pastor Hugh Roach, Minister Fitzgerald said he was happy that the veteran educator was present to witness this historic achievement. He added that under Dr. Roach’s stellar leadership, the school moved from a mere one hundred students to six hundred.
“Bahamas Academy’s reputation for excellence, character building, discipline and high academic standards under-girded by Christian principles and love for God was cemented during Pastor Roach’s tenure,” the Minister stated.
The Minister reminded the current student body that there were many national heroes who have walked the halls of Bahamas Academy, whether it was on Meeting Street, Shirley Street, Hawkins Hill or Wulff Road. The challenge will be for them to determine how they will contribute to the legacy of the school through their academics, character and good citizenship.
Acting Prime Minister, Phillip Davis and Dr. Leonard Johnson, President of the Atlantic Caribbean
Conference unveiled the commemorative plaque. Also pictured are Dr. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Opposition (2nd President of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. from left) and Pastor Paul Scavella, Photo: Edgar Arnette
Minister Fitzgerald also thanked the teachers past and present for their service. “It is teachers who make brick and mortar, a thriving and purposeful structure where knowledge is imparted,” he stated. He further challenged the school leaders to consider using their magnificent structure to promote life-long learning and skills training among the people of the southern district of New Providence or wherever they hail.
“I urge you to form partnerships with the communities which surround this school and particularly with the Anatol Rodgers High School which stands just a few yards away. As Minister of Education, Science and Technology, I believe that best practices, good ideas and sound values must not be exclusive to one school. These assets must be shared if we are to be as Dr. Philip Rahming, wrote in our pledge, “One People United in Love and Service”.
Dr. Trevor Gardner, President of North Caribbean University (NCU) in Jamaica was the featured speaker. Dr. Gardner likened the building to the legend of David and Goliath, which is a tale of “probability versus improbability”. He assured them that they could not lose in their quest because they had God on their side. The visiting educator appealed to education officials and parliamentarians to always have the God-factor in education and whatever they do.
After the official ceremony, dignitaries and guests walked to the front of the school where Mrs. Elizabeth Moses, the school’s living oldest alumnus cut the ribbon to the entrance. The Acting Prime Minister Phillip Davis along with Dr. Leonard Johnson, who was the school board chairman when the project began in 2005, unveiled the commemorative plaque marking the occasion.
The New Bahamas Academy is situated on 6.5 acres of land and has an enrollment of 872 students from K2 to grade 12. The current principal is Anthony Burrows, who is also an alumnus of Bahamas Academy. The project manager, Mr. Winston Ash officially presented the keys to the building to Principal Burrows during the ceremony. Mr. Ash was thanked for his unwavering service on the project. President of the School Board Chairman, Pastor Scavella and Dr. Johnson thanked the present and former government for donating the land for the school and appealed to them for the additional three acres which was promised under the previous Christie administration.
According to Pastor Paul Scavella, the local Adventist leaders are in discussion with the heads of NCU to obtain their approval and support to open a technical school at Bahamas Academy. The school will provide training for the student-body and members of the public who are interested in training for careers in the technical field.
Oldest Alumnus Ms. Elizabeth Moses reciting the Prayer of Dedication. Photo: Edgar Arnette