Veteran cricket administrator Owen Estwick and former Barbados Consul General to New York, the late Earl Glasgow, today became the latest in a growing list of national stalwarts to be honoured by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Less than a week after the Boscobel Primary School was renamed in honour of former Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, it was the turn of the almost 300 year-old Lodge School to celebrate the contribution of its past students, with the naming of its newly constructed hall in the honour of both Estwick and Glaslow.
Today, the St John-based institution also renamed its upgraded pavilion in honour of its first black headboy, Major Sam Headley, who was also a prominent athlete and Cadet Corps leader.
Chairman of the school’s Board of Management Patterson Cheltenham, QC, said the impetus for these projects came after a conversation he had a decade ago with the then Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for St John, the late David Thompson.
“At the school’s Speech Day in March 2008, he [Thompson] spoke to us and we told him, ‘Lodge School is falling apart, we need to get some work done’. He agreed, and eventually a committee was set up to work on it.”
Cheltenham also revealed that Major Headley was “top of the list” when the school was thinking of who it should name its buildings after, saying that “Major Headley was not just a person, but an institution at the Lodge School.
“Owen Estwick and Earl Glasgow also figured prominently on the list,” he added.
Former Principal Vasco Dash, who sat on that committee, further explained that “in the first phase, we renovated some classrooms, but we had to make an urgent decision on the hall because that was falling apart.
“Teachers were becoming ill because of the dust generated and one day a window fell from one of the upper floors of the building; thankfully no one was around at the time.”
The new hall is located on the grounds of Guinea Plantation, which Cheltenham noted was “land non grata” during his time as a student between 1963 and 1971.
Speaking on behalf of the honourees, Estwick thanked Minister of Education Ronald Jones for honouring the three past students, who all attended Lodge around the same time.
Estwick also spoke about the challenges he faced getting into the school saying, “students who complain about tuition fees at UWI have no idea what it was like for a poor child from the country to enter a secondary school in my time. And given how expensive it was, once we made it into those schools we had to take our education seriously”.
Principal Winston Dowrich said the new hall, which cost about $250,000 to construct, could accommodate 800 people downstairs and 300 on its upper level. It also features two music rooms and a sound room.
He said it was already used for the school’s graduation last summer.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education has suggested that the school “acquires its own chairs and offers the facility to the community to host cultural events”.
“I would like to see more Barbadians who claim to love their schools truly show their love by making tangible contributions to their upkeep. Donate some funds and equipment, or even contribute cans of paint for renovation work,” he added.