|Cabbage Hill Primary School re-named in honour of Ulric H. Ferguson|
|Saturday, 04 February 2012 10:06|
The Honourable T. Desmond Bannister, Minister of Education;
It is so wonderful to be with you on this special occasion and I am pleased to be accompanied by my wife Delores, a public school senior high school Principal who is making her very first visit to Crooked Island. I thank the residents of Crooked Island as well as Principal Rolle and the teachers, staff, parents and students for your warm welcome and hospitality.
Every time I come to the Crooked Island I marvel at its great natural beauty. The waters off French Wells which must have provided the shade of the aquamarine in the Bahamian flag and the Windward Passage off Crooked Island boast some of the best bone-fishing, inshore fishing and deep-sea fishing in our island-chain.
I am pleased to be here as we re-open the primary school in Cabbage Hill which was destroyed by Hurricane Irene. Not only are we re-opening this school, which was rebuilt in record time; we share the mutual privilege of rededicating and renaming it in honour of a fine son of Crooked Island: Mr. Ulric H. Ferguson.
So as to give tangible expression of the nation’s gratitude to veteran educators, my Government is pleased to continue a time-honoured tradition of naming institutions of learning in honour of exemplary educators and citizens. Today, in Crooked Island we so recognize such an educator-citizen.
Ulric Ferguson, who was affectionately and widely known as “Teacher Ulric”, is most deserving of this honour given his almost 40 years of dedicated service to students who received their primary education at Cabbage Hill Primary School.
Though he is no longer with us, how good it is that his family and friends, former students and those he mentored, as well as others who admired him, are gathered to acknowledge his many contributions.
Mr. Ferguson was educated at the Jane Walkine School and the Colonel Hill All Age School in Crooked Island and later attended the Government High School in Nassau. He worked in Nassau as a lab technician before traveling to Florida to work on farms under the “Contract”.
He began his teaching career in 1949, when he started a school in the Burial Society Building. The next year the Ministry of Education saw the wisdom of engaging his services as a teacher in the colonial education service.
When the Primary School in Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island was constructed he became its first principal and remained in the post until his retirement, though he later went on to teach at the Colonel Hill Primary School.
By numerous accounts “Teacher Ulric’s” life was marked by unselfish service and unwavering commitment to ensuring an education for the children of Crooked Island. Because of his service and that of other like-minded educators many young Crooked Islanders received the grounding and the education necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives.
I was pleased to recommend Mr. Ferguson’s life story as an excellent one to be emulated by the residents of Crooked Island and indeed the entire Bahamas. The Government of The Bahamas is pleased to recognize his contributions to our youth.
Ladies and Gentlemen:Last year Hurricane Irene, a major hurricane, swept through The Bahamas affecting just about every island. Especially affected were communities and residents of Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Cat Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana and Eleuthera. Thankfully, we suffered no loss of life or serious injury.
Greatness often emerges from small communities. Neither geographic size nor square-mileage will ultimately determine the scope of your success in life. Instead, success is determined by one’s capacity for hard work, the strength of one’s character, and one’s openness to learn new things every day and over the course of a lifetime.
In The Bahamas, it is the largeness of one’s spirit, not the size of the island, cay, or settlement where you are born that determines the contributions one can make to the broader Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
I feel fortunate that in preparing me for my own life journey, that my Mama and Papa taught me many things. I learned that whenever you put your hand to the plow or whatever the task is at hand, that you finish what you start.
I am grateful for these lessons. I am also most grateful to the many teachers like Ulric Ferguson and others gathered here today, who by fine example and careful guidance mould the individuals in their care as well as mould our common destiny.
In their honour and in the name of the Government and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the people of Crooked Island it is my great privilege to officially open and dedicate the former Cabbage Hill Primary School the Ulric H. Ferguson Primary School.
Thank you and good morning.
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