The Alexandra School family was jolted by a double blow this weekend, with the passing of two of its own.
Sixteen-year-old Savio Fergusson, a budding young cricketer, drowned at Port Ferdinand beach while on an outing with some of his teammates following the cancellation of a scheduled match on Sunday.
Just a few hours earlier, the body of former student and co-director of the Boy Scouts, 38-year-old police constable Wallace Hayden Odain Greenidge, of Four Hill, Indian Ground, St Peter, was retrieved from the waters near Animal Flower Cave in Connell Town, St Lucy. Greenidge and a friend had disappeared on Friday night while fishing.
Principal of The Alexandra School Orson Alleyne told Barbados TODAY the “double whammy” was a tough pill to swallow.
“Having to deal firstly with Savio’s passing and then to know that we lost a dear friend and someone who was very committed to this school in Constable Wallace is very hard,” he said.
Fergusson’s death was particular difficult for the students, some of whom openly wept today, as well as the teachers, prompting the school to provide counselling.
“It really was not the best news for us at The Alexandra School. His passing has seriously affected us at the school. Quite a number of students are missing him at present. We had to mobilize some counselling services. My counsellor was very much a part of that in terms of providing services for the students and to help them to start to deal with the situation. Not only students were impacted. We had issues with teachers being impacted as well, especially the ones who worked very closely with Savio,” Alleyne said.
“We made it through the morning, but we are obviously looking at the circumstances as they are and we will make decisions as we deem necessary to continue to assist in providing counselling services for the students and teachers. Generally pockets of students were crying a lot this morning. What I like though is that students not only accepted the counselling services, but they worked with themselves and had some peer support. I think that was very good,” he added.
Fergusson was active in the school’s sports programme, having been involved in the cricket, basketball and athletics.
The principal said the school would be “looking at what we will do to remember him at this school and we will make some decisions as to how we will recognize his passing”.
As is the case with Fergusson’s passing, Alleyne said the school was still in shock over the death of Greenidge who last visited on Friday.
“He was here at the school signing off letters to parents to invite them to the installation of new scouts,” the principal said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Wallace not only attended Alexandra but he has been very involved in the school. He worked very closely with the Boy Scouts Association here. He co-chaired the activities. He’s been very much a part of what we do here at The Alexandra School.
“He committed to whatever he got involved in here at this school. [He was] very organized [and] had a great passion for the development for the scout movement here,” he said.
“Certainly I would want to extend condolences to the families of Savio and Wallace. I know that we at The Alexandra School will miss them quite a bit, but their families are going to miss them more. We assure them that we will still work with them through this difficult time,” he added.