by Latoya Burnham
Calypso rang out from the halls of The Alleyne School this morning, as staff and students honoured four of their own — past students Aisha Mandisa Butcher, Samantha Sammy G Greaves and Chrystal Cummins-Beckles and current student Quinn Quinn P Prescott.
Teacher Deborah Bascombe told students at general assembly that the calypsonians were proof of what Alleynians were capable of when they put their minds to it. She noted that both Mandisa and Sammy G were former Junior Monarch queens, while Quinn P was the 2013 queen and Cummins-Beckles the reigning Regional Calypso Queen, and the 2013 Pic-O-De-Crop competition’s first runner up. Cummins-Beckles had also written and arranged Quinn P’s song Living With HIV. Quinn P said it was an unexpected honour to know that the school wanted to pay tribute to her.
“At first I was really surprised when they told me what was going to happen. It felt really unreal. I am still getting used to being the monarch. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, still.” Cummins-Beckles said: “It feels really, really good because we know there are only certain schools who really push their past students. Alleyne School has a rich history of culture and I was happy to be called back here.
“I’ve been here before, so to be honoured by them and to be so appreciated even by first formers who are now in the school feels really good. You never know who is watching you and clearly these students have been following Crop-Over and they really welcomed me, all of us here this morning and it feels really good.”
She added that she had been back from time to time to participate in the school’s own singing competition, as a guest performer and judge.
She performed her 2013 song One Day for the students, who responded with screams and applause, just as they did for Quinn P, who likewise performed Living With HIV.
Acting Principal Geoffrey Greaves and Acting Deputy Principal Major Irvin Boyce presented the four with tokens of appreciation, including Alleyne School shirts.
Mandisa said she was honoured by the tribute, as did Sammy G, who noted that having now entered the Barbados Community College to study Accounts and Law, she would take the next year off the calypso scene and return in 2015.
Both Mandisa and Sammy G entered this year’s Junior Monarch, with Mandisa making it to the finals of the 13 to 18 category, where Sammy G placed third. [email protected]