Saltus celebrates 130th anniversary
A celebration of 130 years of Saltus Grammar School will be held tomorrow night.
The event will also be used to honour Jon Beard, the deputy head teacher, who this month marked 40 years at the Pembroke school.
Mr Beard charted the school’s evolution from a bastion of the white establishment in segregated Bermuda to its modern incarnation.
He said: “It’s like everybody and everything in Bermuda — you can only be judged by the times you are in.
“Saltus is a happy place, and an exciting place. It’s been fascinating to look back at my time here and the history of the school.”
The school has marked significant milestones since Mr Beard started as a physical education teacher in 1978, with “the obvious being 1991, when we went from an all-boys’ school to co-ed”.
Mr Beard added: “That made a significant difference to the culture of the school.”
He said a personal point of pride was the development of the school’s physical education department.
Mr Beard said: “To get an opportunity in my 20s to plan a gymnasium and set it up is a pretty remarkable opportunity.
“I’m also happy about the relationships I have with a lot of people I have taught. They’re good people, and we have kept in touch.”
Mr Beard said the Saltus of decades back was “a rougher place, but it was not harsh — it was just an all-boys’ school of its time”.
He added: “The facilities I thought were good, although looking back now they seem quite rudimentary.
“We now have some great facilities, and a co-ed school with a good feeling around the place.”
Saltus was named after the merchant Samuel Saltus, who left his estate in 1880 for the foundation of a boys’ school in Pembroke.
The first version of the school opened eight years later at the present-day site of The Centre on Angle Street.
The school later moved to St John’s Road in Pembroke and opened a primary school in Devonshire.
Desegregation began to change Bermuda’s schools in the 1960s and the first black pupils were Gil Tucker, who became head boy and is now chairman of the school’s board of trustees and Derek Ratteray in the primary school.
Mr Beard said another Saltus milestone came in 1971 when the school went private and a major turning point of this century was in 2006, with the opening of the Goose Gosling Centre, which “expanded the school into a modern building and connected arts and sports”.
The school’s first woman head teacher was appointed in 2013 when Claire Charlemagne became head of school — and Saltus has another female principal at the helm now in Deryn Lavell.
Mr Beard said he counted himself “very fortunate with the people I have worked with”.
He added: “From everything I’ve heard, Saturday night is going to be more of a roast. But I will get the microphone for five minutes.”