The St. Joseph Parish Independence Committee recently honoured eight unsung heroes for their contribution to communities in a range of areas, including education and fishing, during a ceremony held at Grantley Adams Memorial School.
Chairperson of the Committee, Edwin Greene told Barbados TODAY that a panel of four people, including himself, choose the awardees from the 47 nominations received.
The criteria included the fact that the nominee had to make an impact on a person’s life and they could not have been the recipients of any other awards.
The name of the St. Joseph Parish Project this year is The A – Z of Josephine legacies — Crafting and Budding Our Communities.
We take a look at the awardees:
• AMY CLAREEN GALE has made a valuable contribution to the lives of several Josephines.
Born on July 1, 1931, the resident of St. Elizabeth Village was honoured by the St. Joseph Parish Independence Committee for her sterling contribution to education.
Said to be “a staple in the educational pursuits of many St. Joseph residents”, the 81-year- old woman started her teaching career at St. Elizabeth Girls’ School and included stints at St. Bernard’s, St. George and St. Matthew’s Primary school where she acted as principal for two years.
She was also the District Commissioner for Brownies in the parish.
Although she is officially retired from teaching, Gale is still actively involved in providing extra tuition for children in St. Joseph, particularly those preparing for the Common Entrance Exam. Her advice to these and to whomever she comes into contact with is, “always be ready to help whenever called upon and do not get into bad company”.
The honouree admitted that she never expected to be singled out for her contribution to education in St. Joseph, but feels honoured to be recognised in this special way.
• Educator BERYL EMMELINE DEANE is from Deaneville, St. Bernard’s Village.
During her early years, she attended St. Bernard’s Boys’ School where her father was the principal. She recalled occasions when the education officer would visit and she would have to run home, because she lived opposite the school or make sure she was not seen by the officer because it was an all boys’ school.
She started her teaching career at the St. Elizabeth Girls’ School and then went on to the St. Ann’s and Clifton Hill schools. Following in the footsteps of her late father Eldon Hordon McKay Deane, she was appointed principal of Chalky Mount Primary and remained there until her retirement in 1993.
A trained teacher, Deane attended Erdiston College from 1961 – 1962 and Dundee College of Education in Scotland in 1967, earning her diploma in 1968.
While expressing her gratitude for being recognised as a teaching icon, Deane considers herself “an old time teacher”, and laments that “teachers are not as dedicated as before”. Despite being recognised as a strict disciplinarian, she confessed to using flogging as a last resort.
She celebrated her 79th birthday on October 30.
• BEATRICE GERTRUDE CARRINGTON might not have been alive to receive her award but that did not take away from the valuable offerings to the fishing industry.
Born on April 22, 1912, the centenarian who died on June 8 this year, gave more than 70 years of her life to fishing as a fish vendor at Tent Bay.
Her citation reads: “A mother of four and grandmother to many, she worked hard to provide fish on tables of many families within the parish and as far afield as St. George and St. John.
“Vending was her full-time employment and she plied her trade on foot through districts such as Andrew’s Tenantry, Coffee Gully, Claybury, Hortons, Horse Hill and Cattlewash. This was a job she undertook for over 60 years, during which time she built up a steady clientele, with ‘trust’ at the centre of their relationships. Customers depended on her to supply whatever fish was available at the time. It was customary for her to credit the fish and collect outstanding monies by the Tuesday morning so that she could pay the fishermen on Tuesday evening.
“As an astute business woman, she never missed the opportunity to make a sale.
One day she took a barracuda to a bay house but the potential buyer had heard that barracuda was not good to eat. Thinking very quickly on her feet, Mrs. Carrington took a close look at the fish and said ‘Sorry Mistress, I made a mistake. It’s not a barracuda, it’s a foxfish, these does taste real good’. The lady promptly bought the barracuda and the next time she saw Mrs. Carrington she inquired if she had any more ‘fox fishes’. That is how she got the name ‘Fox Fish’.”
It was said that Carrington “retired unwillingly from fish vending at the age of 96 at the insistence of her family”. She has left a legacy of love, business acumen, respect for others and self and a spirit of hard work in her community of Cleavers Hill.
• Eighty-two year-old CYRIL DACOSTA ARMSTRONG is a pillar of the Coconut Grove community where he lives.
Being saluted for his dedication to religion, he said that his “heart and soul were planted in the Sunday school from 1956 – 2011”, spanning 46 years of perfect attendance.
His Christian education began when he was about five years as a member of the Chimborazo Sunday School. He however, transferred to a Sunday school nearer his home when Sister Dorothy Skeete opened a school at her home in July 1937.
Armstrong said he was among the first 20 students and always played an active role in the Sunday school. He recalls especially, his days of reciting and stimulating fellow Sunday school students with his “royal salute”.
After his official conversion to the Christian faith, Armstrong’s
active involvement in functions such as open air meetings, resulted in the erection of churches at Chalky Mount and Cane Garden. He has functioned in various capacities in the church, including member of the church board, Sunday school superintendent, young people’s president and delegate to the district conference.
As a Sunday school teacher, he said he derived considerable satisfaction from ministering to and sharing with his Sunday school classes
Some of the major events which took place during his adolescent years, Armstrong told of “passing through the riots of July 26, 1937 and the second World War, 1939 – 1945”.
Being a proud St. Joseph resident, Armstrong boasted of sitting on the “best Georgian furniture that would outclass any in modern times”, while the wall of his home was graced with royalty — a picture of King George V who was celebrating the Silver Jubilee of his reign.
Born on February 23, 1930, he is a past student of St. Bernard’s Boys’ School, he later pursued studies at the Arlen College in Oxford and Edinburgh College where he did book-keeping and accounting.