Nassau, The Bahamas – Ten Bahamian teachers were recognised for extending their commitment and outstanding educational contributions to Bahamian youth at the 2010 Sir Gerald Cash National Distinguished Teachers’ Award.
On November 12, honoured teachers and their families publicly witnessed these heroes receive their awards with a cash stipends from Sir William Allen, Deputy to the Governor General, at Awards Ceremony, held in the Ballroom at Government House.
“The Awards programme is named in honour of the memory of Sir Gerald Cash, GCMG, GCBOC, JP, a former Governor General, and a long standing and much valued member of the Fidelity Board’s requisite of confidence,” said Sir William.
“Sir Gerald, in his time, was a passionate advocate for education excellence. What is impressive about Sir Gerald were the high standards he set for everything and everyone and how important excellence was to him.”
The late Sir Gerald Cash’s family was present, along with partners from Cable Bahamas, The Tribune, The Ministry of Education, and The Bahamas Union of Teachers at the awards ceremony, which was the brainchild of Alfred Stewart, executive vice president of the Fidelity Bank.
Sir William shared a personal insight into the intimate vision the former governor general had for expanding an educational privilege to all Bahamian citizens.
“I am sure that he would be extremely pleased to know that this programme, being in his honour, was designed to award outstanding teaching professionals, while encouraging all others throughout The Bahamas, to aspire to excellence everyday of their teaching lives,” said Mr. Allen.
The Minister of Education, the Hon. Desmond Bannister, a former teacher himself before being called to the Bahamas Bar in 1988, gave remarks at the ceremony and quoted Australian physicist, Helen Calvinot.
“‘Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of a society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth'”, said Minister Bannister.
“It reminds all of us that actions as teachers, both in and out the classroom, dramatically impacts the public lives of the children that you teach, and their everyday lives. I am certain that you, as our honourees tonight, speak to the thousands of lives that you have impacted positively.”
He reminded the teachers of the prestige of being recognised as an honouree chosen to receive The 2010 Sir Gerald Cash National Distinguished Teachers’ Award.
“This event, and the presence of you awardees, confirms the fact that to find consummate professionals, leaders and role models means we can look into the classrooms in our schools,” said Mr. Bannister.
“For us, 10 outstanding Bahamians worked diligently and earned their way, who sacrificed their time and their treasure, who are now being spotlighted for holding the high standards that is required of those who choose to enter the teaching profession.”
Teachers were reminded of their sphere of influence and how it extends globally, even after a student graduates and enters the workforce.
“I am pleased to honour some our heroes, teachers who are not on the sidelines. They make a difference everyday. They are committed teachers and they dare to make the extra effort when so many around them and around us in our community just do the bare minimum to get by, happy to be average, and are incredibly selfish,” said Greg Bethel, president of Fidelity Bank.
“So we want to acknowledge their contribution and thank them for bringing hope, opportunity, and direction to the lives of so many of our nation’s young people. Young people born in difficult challenges at home, in their communities or wherever they grew up.”
Among those honoured this year were Lenora Brown, Alexa Young, Joan Knowles Turnquest, Gaynell Burrows, Lynn Gibson, Ramona Wells, David Mindoff, Demetria Rolle, Josette Thompson, and Carol Wright Bishop.
The Sir Gerald Cash Distinguished Teachers’ Award was launched in 2009 by Fidelity Bank to recognise and honour teachers that go beyond the call of duty and make outstanding contributions to the education and development of the children of The Bahamas.
Nominations are an open invitation to teachers from both public and private schools from across preschools, primary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools, all-age schools, and special needs schools
By Gena Gibbs
Bahamas Information Services