Premier among prominent 13 honoured by Paget Primary
A primary school was transformed into a museum yesterday to celebrate the achievements of black Bermudians.
Classrooms at Paget Primary School were turned into exhibition areas as part of the second annual Black History Museum.
The school chose 13 people for special recognition this year — up from 11 last year. Those picked included cricketer Janeiro Tucker, Mary Prince, whose autobiography detailed the brutality of slavery in Bermuda and the British Caribbean, David Burt, the Premier and Sir John Swan, the island’s elder statesman and its longest-serving premier.
Several of those honoured, including Mr Burt and Mr Tucker, attended the event.
Xaen James, 11, said he was “very excited” to meet Mr Burt for the first time. Exodus Somner, 10, said the best part of the class project was practising her part for the theatrical performance. The Active Leaners Programme for children on the autism spectrum turned their classroom into an exhibit devoted to Mr Burt.
Freda Trimm, the class teacher, said that the choice to honour the Premier was made by her pupils and that they had worked on the exhibit from early January. She added that the class, eight children between the ages of 5 and 11, interviewed Mr Burt’s mother as part of their research.
She said: “I am very, very proud of our students.”
Gina Cann, chairwoman of the school’s social studies committee, said that this year’s event was “bigger and better” than the first.
She added that, despite the success of last year’s event, this year’s exhibition might not have gone ahead.
Ms Cann explained: “We initially were not going to go ahead and do it — we were actually going to do it every other year.
“But because of the demand, because of the support in the community ... we were forced — but didn’t actually mind doing it.”
Ms Cann said: “Students need to learn about not only black history for this one day, or this one month — they need to be exposed to those individuals who are in our community on a daily basis.”
She said that pupils recognised the names and contributions of many black leaders elsewhere, but they sometimes lacked knowledge of the achievements of Bermudians.
Ms Cann added that many of the pupils did not know who Janeiro Tucker was — despite going to Cup Match each year.
She said: “So, actually bringing the connection here — making it real life for them, is all the better.”
Mr Tucker told The Royal Gazette he was humbled to be included and that events to highlight the achievements of black Bermudians were essential.
He added: “I think it’s very good that they’re doing this here and I hope it continues.
“Promote the Bermudian people who have done good in the community and the country.”
Mr Burt said that it was an honour to be singled out by the school.
He added: “We’re here among incredible people. It’s certainly humbling.”
Mr Burt said that everyone involved in the event should be commended for their work.
He told the school: “Thank you for your efforts. It’s, without question, absolutely incredible.
“The amount of energy that has gone into this can be seen in the exhibits.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minster of Education, said he was pleased to be asked to cut the ribbon to open the event.
Mr Rabain added that the museum project emphasised the “phenomenal” work done by primary schoolteachers across the country.
He said: “There are so many wonderful things going on in our primary schools outside of just what people would consider the traditional classroom stuff.”