Discovering love for Bermuda
This year the theme for the Bermuda National School Salute is the five Ws and H – who, what, where, when, why and how Bermuda.
Student Noah DaSilva, 14, attends Warwick Academy and is interested in pursuing journalism.
As part of his work experience programme, he spent a few mornings at The Royal Gazette over the Easter holidays and we challenged him to answer six School Salute questions.
Why is Bermuda so special?
I believe Bermuda is its own world, special and different from most of the Earth for a number of reasons.
Bermuda is a microcosm, a tiny strip of land surrounded by a vast ocean, yet brimming with life and variety.
Firstly, Bermuda is a beautiful island, with many natural wonders that draw tourists here. How many people have swum in the warm waves in the summer, gazing at corals through crystal clear water, while longtails shriek and wheel from cedar trees on the cliff?
Bermuda’s environment is breathtaking, with amazing waters, perfect weather (most of the time), and unique birds and plants on land. We are so lucky to live in such a paradise.
However, it’s not just the environment that makes Bermuda so special — it’s the people.
Bermuda is a melting pot of different people, cultures, and backgrounds, all coming together to call this little island their home.
If you take any group of people, they are sure to have roots scattered all over the world. In my own little friend group at school, there are people from the UK, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, the Azores, and several others.
It is incredible to think of these different cultures joining together and interweaving on this little island.
Despite this, a unique Bermudian culture emerges: flying kites on Good Friday, the first swimming day of May 24, and Gombeys are all part of life in Bermuda.
It truly is its own special world, containing diverse, friendly people and unique, stunning environments. This is why Bermuda is so special.
Who do you admire?
The person I deeply admire in Bermuda is definitely Captain David Semos.
Captain Semos, along with a few lieutenants, runs the Bermuda Boys’ Brigade (BB), a collection of around 50 boys, ranging from 5 to 16 years of age.
Captain Semos, who retired from his job as a telephone company supervisor 12 years ago, has been leading the Boys’ Brigade at St Paul’s Hall in Paget for 40 years.
He is respected and looked up to by every boy under his charge, and has been an incredible mentor and role model to me in the past few years.
Boys’ Brigade isn’t all David Semos does. He also teaches archery and fencing to kids during the week, as well as hosting a camp in the summer.
He even volunteers to teach archery at WindReach, a centre for people with special needs, and circulates among the schools.
In his spare time, he is the caretaker of Burt’s Island for the Anglican Church, and takes BB camps out twice a year.
“I try to be active Monday through Thursday,” Captain Semos says, “and my wife makes me take the weekend off.”
Mr Norsworthy, Captain Semos’s right-hand man and long-time friend, also has great things to say.
“I first met David years ago, when he asked for some bamboo for a raft he and the Boys Brigade were making,” Mr Norsworthy says.
“He is an extremely generous man, and I don’t know anyone who could do what he does. He gives up an enormous amount of time and effort, and all the boys look up to him. Honestly, I can’t say enough.”
Unfortunately, Captain Semos won’t be doing this much longer as he is retiring from Boys’ Brigade next year, in time for his 70th birthday.
I wish Captain Semos all the best and I hope to one day have his wisdom, experience, and motivation. He will always be someone I look up to and respect.
How do you make a difference?
I try to make a difference in an area that’s always been special to me — the environment.
I am motivated to work for the environment because we have such a beautiful world that surrounds us and takes care of us. If we do not do our part to take care of it, than our way of living could be ruined for ever.
Bermuda’s environment is so small and delicate, that any little thing could help or hurt it in a big way.
I’ve always wanted to do my part for the conservation of the island and keep it here for future generations.
In order to achieve this, I joined the Eco-Club at my school, Warwick Academy, three years ago, to help the environment in and around our campus.
We have a small team of around ten students and one biology teacher, Jessica Young, and we have worked hard to improve WA’s environmental footprint.
By meeting weekly, brainstorming ideas and creating campaigns, our small team of students has managed to accomplish many victories in the school this year, such as eliminating all single-use plastic plates in our school, spreading awareness to peers, and reaching out to the community bytargeting parents and nearby stores.
The school board has even made changes and the school is getting greener by the day.
This progress has allowed us to do many fun and interesting activities, including field trips, and everyone is benefiting.
I urge anyone who wants to make a difference in the world to try it. Even though you might be just one person, if you are passionate about the cause and are willing to take action, you can achieve it, even if it’s just baby steps to a much larger goal.
Making a difference is only as hard as you make it.
Where is your favourite place?
In such a beautiful place as Bermuda, it is incredibly hard for me to choose one place that was my personal favourite.
I narrowed it down to a place that is easy to get to, peaceful, and where I would never tire of being — my own backyard.
This secluded patch of nature guarded by trees and christened with dandelions may not be the most visually stunning or tourist-attracting site on the island, but it has been an important place throughout my life, and I can always relax and let off steam there.
What makes my backyard even better is being able to enjoy it with our pets — three chickens I take care of every day.
I believe that “backyard chickens”, so to speak, are a fantastic idea for any household with outdoor space.
They don’t need a lot to keep them happy, are very interesting to watch, and best of all, can deliver you beautiful, fresh eggs every day.
They even work as “living composts”, devouring your vegetable scraps instead of throwing them away.
Another great thing about our backyard is that it is
bordered by a large forest, which my brother and I have spent hours exploring and collecting firewood for the winter blazes.
Recently, I spent time doing a birdwatching project with one of my friends, and we spent hours watching endemic white-eyed vireos, along with sparrows, cardinals, and other birds darting through the trees of the forest.
It really gives an appreciation of the smaller things you see around you.
Bermuda is an amazing place in which to live, but for me, I find that the best spots are close to you.
When is the best time of year?
My favourite part of the year is the springtime, for so many different reasons.
Firstly, it is because of all the events and great times that are enclosed in its months.
Many people in my family have their birthdays during the spring, so there are non-stop festivities, and we’re always together.
At the forefront of spring, though, is Easter Week. During the week, my whole family is inseparable, and on Good Friday, the tradition of flying kites is one we always keep.
Easter Day itself is also a very special occasion being a very holy day, and it is the perfect day to spend with family, celebrating together.
One of the best parts of Easter Week is all the great food — hot cross buns (made by me this year!), fish cakes, and my Vava (grandmother) always makes massa, sumptuous sweetbread baked around a whole boiled egg that is perfect for the occasion.
Another gift of spring is the AG Show, which happened just a couple of weeks ago.
It’s the perfect excuse to spend the day hanging out with friends, sampling the different food stalls, and enjoying the beautiful weather that the season brings, all while viewing the best animals, plants, and craftwork that Bermuda has to offer.
The final benefit of spring is how it smoothly transitions into summer, lengthening the days, and bringing in good weather. All of these reasons add up to why spring is my favourite time of year.
What are the issues facing your generation?
I believe the increase and expansion of technology is a double-edged sword – it can be useful and fun, but also tempting and all-consuming.
We’ve heard many times about how social media and video games can be serious problems for our generation, and much of this is a very real threat.
Social media is a fun way to talk to friends, but can be abused or overused in the wrong hands. Also, as people are spending more and more time on devices and the internet, they know or care less about other, pressing matters.
More people either flat-out don’t know, or don’t care, about environmental issues, passing it off to the next generation. These are big problems that need to be rectified.
Another problem is the amount of stress that we have to bear. Exams, homework assignments piling on top of each other, and important life decisions just around the corner all contribute to an unhealthy amount of stress.
As I’m writing this, there is a test in three days, I had one yesterday, auditions for the play are tomorrow, and I have a Spanish essay to write.
Compounding this issue is the temptation of technology to procrastinate and put it off, opposing the expectations to fit it all in and do well on everything.
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