The Learning Centre in Orange Hill, St. James, now has a new patron.
He is hotelier, Peter Odle, and replaces retired judge, Sir Frederick Smith.
In a brief comment to Barbados TODAY, Odle said he was humbled to be chosen to fill the position vacated by one of Barbados’ most distinguished jurists and politicians. On receiving a gift of an ironing board made by the students of the school, Odle promised to challenge himself to see how many of them he could get sold in the hospitality industry for the school.
In a brief address, principal of the school, Dawn Rudder, praised the visionary work of the late Dr. Richard Browne, who was instrumental in setting up the centre to give hope to children who were either physically or intellectually challenged.
Praising the strides over the past 36 years, Rudder said: “This morning I welcome you, having watched the school rise from its humble beginnings to a well respected and contributing learning institution that has assisted its students to become, in some cases, significant contributors to every segment of Barbadian society.”
Rudder noted with pride that one of the persons who gave his attention to the development of the school was retiring patron, Sir Frederick, adding that on many occasions Sir Frederick offered valuable advice at every level in the school.
“To speak of every aspect of this help would take me well pass the ten minutes that I have been allotted, but suffice it to say Sir Frederick, we thank you and will be ever grateful for your input into the development of the school at every level,” Rudder said.
Rudder welcomed the new patron and expressed confidence in his ability to continue the work of Sir Frederick and “even in some cases carry the institution to even greater heights”.
The Learning Centre, which was established in 1977, has a roll of 81 students between the ages of four to 18 years, with a staff complement of 17, including the principal and secretary.
Coaches and other trained personnel volunteer their services to the development of the students’ skills. The centre is fitted with a well equipped barber salon and a handicraft centre that produces cabinet doors and ironing boards for sale on the local market.
Former student and Pick-O-De Crop finalist, Sir Ruel, (Chad Bowen) entertained the guests with renditions of You Raise Me Up and Go the Distance.
Odle was accompanied by his wife, Carol and daughter, Laura Seymour. Parliamentary representative for the area, George Payne, also attended today’s handing over ceremony. (NC)