Past and present students of the Lodge School gathered this morning to pay tribute to Major Sam Headley, the school’s first black head boy, and longstanding employee Aubrey Knight.
The school’s flag was at half-mast and attendees observed a moment of silence as a mark of respect for the two stalwarts who contributed to the development of the 275-year-old secondary institution.
Major Headley who passed on April 18 at the age of 89, entered the Lodge School in the 1920’s during the height of the plantocracy and racism in Barbados. Earning the rank of Major in the Barbados Regiment, he became the first Government Security Officer in 1965, responsible for the security arrangements at Independence. As Permanent Secretary of the Division of Defence and Security in the Office of the Prime Minister under Errol Barrow, he played a key role in establishing the Barbados Coast Guard in 1972.
Headley’s daughter, Pamela Headley during her brief remarks, said her father sought to be “harmonious with everybody” despite their race or background.
Headley was also referred to as an “outstanding Barbadian” who was committed to the development of Barbados and a “pioneer for boys of colour” by Sir David Simmons.
Sir David recalled that Headley’s controversial appointment at the time was met with heavy opposition from students at the predominately white school. Headley’s traumatic experiences did not mar his love for the Massiah Street, St John institution.
Sir David shared that he was also a student whilst Aubrey Knight worked in the ancillary division of the school. Knight who was also known as ‘Bree’ served as a porter at the institution until his retirement. He died at 98.
Knight was remembered as a devoted Barbados Labour Party member, a faithful worker and “a very respectful man who loved Lodge School”. Sir David fondly recalled that Knight assisted in delivering the detention and flogging book to the teaching staff but he was the biggest moral support to students as well.
Meanwhile, former teacher Patrick Frost said Knight was known as ‘Silent Knight’ by the students because he was never involved in any conflict.
“He was a gentle person and true representative of all there was at the Lodge School,” said Frost.
Frost suggested that the ancillary and teaching staff be honoured for this steadfast commitment and contributions to the institutions.
“These were people who shaped our lives in one way or another. We might not have known it at that time but I urge that a plaque be put up for all of them so we remember people like Aubrey Knight,” said Frost.
President of the Lodge School Old Scholars, David Howard told Barbados TODAY that it was the association’s aim to educate students on the historical contributions of past and present students and teachers.
“Part of our mandate is to ensure that a historical perspective is placed in key locations around the school so that students can recognise and observe the significant contributions of a lot of our past. In order to get where we are going … we need to recognise where we came from.” (KK)