Today’s retirement function for veteran teachers of the Wesley Hall Junior School left all who attended in no doubt that Maureen Reid and Natalie Sargeant were indeed women of worth.
Reid, a former principal, and Sargeant were honoured in poem, song and dance by many of the students during the ceremony at the Whitepark Road Wesleyan Holiness Tabernacle. The church, which was filled with teachers of the school, friends, family of the retirees and students, was filled with loud cheering.
Reid taught for 41 years and Sargeant for 38. Current principal of the school, Herbert Gittens, who gave a brief history of the two retired teachers, mentioned that Reid had the honour of becoming the first female principal of the school in January 2007.
District Education Officer for the school, Shamin Ally, shared words of encouragement to the two retirees, saying that their many years of service to teaching could be considered a blessing and privilege.
“Unfortunately, many people do not reach the age of retirement to have that good fortune to reap the monetary rewards for their labour or to enjoy the leisure associated with the golden years,” she said.
Student of the school, Afraka Bynoe-Forde, dedicated a 10-minute speech to the two honourees by talking about other women of worth, including Rosa Parks, Dame Nita Barrow and Dame Patricia Symmonds.
She spoke of how Parks fought for the rights of other blacks through her stance of not giving up her seat to a white man on a bus. In the closing of her speech she had the students repeat after her that they were people worth, reminding them that their teachers at Wesley Hall taught them to be the best that they can be.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Reid spoke about her life at the various schools where she taught, including St. Matthew’s Primary, Workman’s Primary, St. James Primary, Holy Innocence and Sharon Primary, where she was a teacher for 22 years. Reid said that she had many pleasant memories in teaching and she advised the students:
“Work hard at all the activities in which you are involved. There is much for you to learn at school and try to gain as much as you can as you go up to take your place to help develop your country Barbados.”