Today was a special day at Crumpton Street, St Michael, as Harrison College paid tribute to CARIFTA champion Sada Williams and Twenty20 World Cup winner Hayley Matthews.
Williams and Matthews were honoured for their recent sporting achievements and shown much appreciation by principal Juanita Wade, deputy principal David McCarthy, past Harrisonians and the entire school population during general assembly.
It was an occasion for laughter, fun and even dancing when Matthews, who captured Player of the Match in the women’s finals of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Final against Australia, had students join her onstage to do Dwayne Bravo’s Champion dance. It was also announced that Matthews would be presenting her school with some personal memorabilia in the form of the West Indies shirt in which she played the ICC T20 final.
During the intense excitement, the students still managed to calm down to hear Williams speak about her tremendous journey so far this year with two record-breaking performances at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) and following that with two gold medals at the just concluded CARIFTAGames in Grenada. She has qualified for the Rio Olympics.
A very humble Williams took time out to thank God for her success and those who helped her along the way including her mother Shernel Williams, coach Ramon Armstrong, schoolmates, and others at home and abroad who have been showering her with unwavering love and support.
The 18-year-old, a former Coleridge and Parry student, told her peers this morning that success was never easy and assured them that she would always give one hundred percent on her way to becoming even more successful. She urged them to do the same.
“Find your dreams and go after them with every fiber of your being and whether you desire a specific career or achievement, once you imagine it you can achieve it. Give your aspiration as much attention as it deserves, after all you deserve it. It is my hope that my feat will serve to inspire girls somewhere,” Williams said to a resounding round of applause.
On March 18, Williams ran against the clock at BSSAC and smashed the 30-year-old record of 23.47 in the 200m set by Yolande Straughn back in 1985 to produce a Rio Olympics’ qualifying time of 23.10.
Deighton Smith, a former Harrisonian and member of the Barbados Cricket Association, told the students that many entered the institution with academic abilities but were unaware of the other talents they possessed and how rich these were. He added that just like academics, they needed to create an environment in which they could nurture artistic and sporting talents to bring out their very best starting from first form.
According to Smith, that problem had been solved thanks to the students who created what is now called the Harrison College Foundation for Creative and Sporting Excellence which he said was designed to bring out the best talents, and with the intention to refurbish the playing, performing and training facilities, provide funds for training programmes, as well as funds for coaches and teachers of the arts.
“When you look at all these people that have done so outstandingly well like the Sada Williams, Hayley Mathews, Torian Wents [youngest footballer to play for Barbados’ senior team] of this world, it creates a desire for you to find out what talents you have and how far you can go. In the words of the great Bob Marley, he said if you know your history then you know where you come from, then you don’t have to ask me ‘who the hell do I think I am?’ And with that ladies and gentlemen know the history of this organization that represents excellence,” Smith said.
Nine of the students who currently attend Harrison College represented Barbados at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships copping ten gold, eight silver and eight bronze to tally 26 medals among them. While in chess Nitin Mahtani and Yu Tien Poon both captured silver in the under-16 and 20 age groups respectively.