Students celebrate island’s sports legacy as they welcome the Queen’s Baton
Youngsters welcomed the Queen’s Baton to Paget Primary School yesterday as part of the worldwide opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games.
Paget Primary School hosted several dignitaries, including Rena Lalgie, the Governor, as the Queen’s Baton was handed to the school from the Cabinet Grounds in Hamilton.
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Youngsters highlighted star Bermudian athletes, including late Olympian and journalist Mike Sharpe, during their welcoming ceremony and showcased their own athletic skills.
They also took to the podium to speak on Bermuda’s legacy in international sports and performed their version of John Woolridge’s Proud to be Bermudian.
Freda Trimm, the chairwoman of the school’s social studies committee, who helped organise the event, said: “The children were so elated to know that the Queen’s Baton was actually on campus and to be selected as a recipient of the baton.
“When they came in that morning to see their school grounds being transformed into a stadium they were just so very excited.”
She added: “It was a momentous occasion, not just for the school but for Bermuda at large.”
Ms Trimm was speaking as the Queen’s Baton journeys around the world as part of the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games.
Bermuda is the 62nd leg of visits to 72 Commonwealth countries before the baton reaches Birmingham, England for the start of the games on July 28.
Pupils took part in competitions similar to those in the Commonwealth Games, such as long jump and cycling.
Attendees also visited Paget Primary’s assembly hall after the ceremony and were treated to several student-made exhibits that detailed the life and achievements of Mr Sharpe.
Sonia Haley, the school’s Acting Principal, said that the school put a focus on Mr Sharpe after their annual Black History Museum project was postponed this year because of the pandemic.
She explained that the project, which filled the assembly hall with exhibits highlighting famous Black Bermudians every February, was something the pupils looked forward to annually.
Ms Maley added: “We said ‘let’s put a hold on the Black History Museum – but know that our focus will be on Mike Sharpe’.”
She said: “An important part of it was making sure they feel valued in spite of what’s happened the last two years.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said that the exhibits showed the youngsters’ talents for research and crafts.
He added: “This is the type of thing that we want to encourage in the school and grow in other schools.
“If we have community schools with the community giving back, we can do no wrong.”
The baton, which reached Bermuda on Sunday, moved to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse around lunchtime after its trip to Paget Primary and was handed to Olympic Games bronze medal-winner and boxer Clarence Hill.
It leaves the island today and will make its way to Canada, where it will spend the next five days travelling the country.
Ms Lalgie, who took the baton to Mr Hill, told the school before she left: “It’s great to be able to welcome the Queen’s Baton today, not just to Bermuda but to your school and to see your celebration.
“I hope that one day we’ll be watching one of you flying the flag for Bermuda.”
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