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A celebration of Berkeley’s influence on Bermuda life

Members of the Berkeley Education Society and the graduating Class of 1963 will be out in full force on Sunday for a special service commemorating two anniversaries.

A host of members and former school mates will gather at St Paul AME Church to celebrate the society's 134th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Class of ‘63.

Church Pastor Nicholas Tweed said the service is a “wonderful post culmination event”.

Just last week St Paul AME Church members celebrated 128 years as an AME Church in Bermuda, although the church building has a 146-year history.

Said Rev Tweed: “It also reaffirms the long relationship that St Paul AME Church has with the Berkeley Institute.

“It's a wonderful opportunity for us to have graduates, many of whom are still members of St Paul. And many have gone on to have sterling careers in Bermuda, both in terms of civic, social, political and the economic life of Bermuda and educational life of Bermuda,” he said.

“It gives us an opportunity to celebrate the rich heritage that is shared between the Berkeley Institute and St Paul AME Church.

“I think this is a historic moment because it gives us an opportunity to look back and celebrate one of the great educational institutions in Bermuda.”

Quoting the school's mantra — “to the unrelenting pursuit of excellence in education' he said the school continues “to stand in that tremendous tradition” still today.

Long time society member Edwena Smith said she was excited to be involved with the upcoming service.

“The service will be held on October 6, which was the same day the society was formed in 1879.”

She noted that it “took the society 18 years to get the school going.

“The Berkeley Institute was established in 1897 in a lodge at Samaritan Hall on Court Street. That was the site of the first school and then some years later they went to the building we no longer occupy on Berkeley Road in Pembroke.

“I'm just thrilled that I can witness all these changes even today,” said Ms Smith.

She noted that the church has a long history of providing scholarships to Berkeley Institute students, particularly when it was a private school.

“Remember, people had to pay fees way back then. So in order to get into the school, you either had to have a scholarship or your parents had to pay the money,” she said.

“So St Paul was one of those who actually provided scholarships for people to go to Berkeley; they took great pride in this. And St Paul always had a welcoming attitude towards those who went abroad and came back as well.

“I'm still proud of my alma mater to this day,” she said. “Of course, absolutely!”

Asked what would she say to encourage people to come out on Sunday she said: “If I were bold I might sing the school song.

“It has a rousing effect and we have two houses, green and gold. I was on green house and I believe in my house but the song has a rousing effect and the students get fired up whenever they sing it.

“I think if I was able to sing this song it would make more people come out on Sunday for curiosity if for no other reason.”

Planning: Edwena Smith from the Berkeley Educational Society and St Paul AME Reverend Nicholas Tweed go over the plans for the big event (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published October 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 04, 2013 at 1:00 am)

A celebration of Berkeley’s influence on Bermuda life

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