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Teams gear up for Anglican Schools Festival!

Five full days of activities are planned for the 19th staging of the Anglican Schools Festival in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

The all-out battle between the four Anglican high schools in the country, which was previously just a track and field meet, has branched off to include elocution, spelling, music, cheerleading and other sporting disciplines such as swimming, basketball, softball and soccer. Bishop Michael Eldon School will host the highly anticipated showdown set for February 8-12 in Freeport. The host Warriors will be joined by the St. John’s College Giants and the St. Anne’s Blue Waves out of New Providence, and the newest Anglican school in the country, St. Andrew’s, in Exuma.

“We’re delighted to be putting on the festival because it is a means of fellowship for the students, staff and parents of all of the schools,” said Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in The Bahamas Laish Boyd. “It’s a massive undertaking and we are very grateful to our Anglican educational department for putting it together. Interaction of this caliber fosters family togetherness. It challenges our young people to be at their best in a number of disciplines, and we are looking forward to a wonderful time together in Grand Bahama as an Anglican school family.”

The opening ceremony of the five-day meet is set for Wednesday February 8, at 9 a.m., inside the Bishop Michael Eldon Auditorium. At that time, the Venerable Harry Bain, archdeacon of the Northern Bahamas and rector of the Pro-Cathedral of Christ The King, in Freeport, will be recognized for his contribution to the Bishop Michael Eldon School (formerly Freeport Anglican High) where he served as principal, from 1989-1998. The swimming competition will get underway at 12 noon that day, and the spelling competition will wrap up the day’s activities, at 6 p.m. that evening.

On Thursday February 9, the elocution contest will get things started at 9 a.m., the junior boys and senior girls will engage in preliminary softball competition, at 11 a.m., at the Grand Bahama (GB) Sports Complex, the basketball championships will get underway, at 3 p.m., at the St. George’s gymnasium, and the cheerleading competition will close out day two of the meet.

As for that Friday, the soccer competition will get the ball rolling with a scheduled 9 a.m. start at the Bishop Michael Eldon soccer field, the finals of the junior boys and senior girls softball competition is set to begin at 11 a.m., and the track and field portion of the meet – 3,000 meters (m), 5,000m, 4x400m, high jump, triple jump and discus – will occur at the GB Sports Complex, starting at 3 p.m. Later that evening, a student social will be held inside the auditorium.

On Saturday, track and field will continue at the GB Sports Complex, starting at 10 a.m., and a staff social is planned for later that night, at 7 p.m. inside the auditorium.

The meet will close out on Sunday with a church service at the Christ The King Anglican Church, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, starting at 10 a.m., and a ‘Festival of Fine Arts’ competition, getting underway, at 3 p.m. inside the school auditorium.

All of the Anglican schools will be closed on Friday, February 10, and organizers are encouraging alumni and parents to attend this year’s event.

“We are really looking forward to this event,” said Dr. Judith Tynes-Jones, director of the Anglican Central Education Authority (ACEA). “We are encouraging all of the old scholars to come out and support this event. We’re just looking for a wonderful time where we could work on children spiritually, academically, physically, emotionally and socially. We are looking at developing the whole child,” she added.

Dr. Tynes-Jones said that what the event does, is foster school spirit, and brings students and staff together as an Anglican community. The objective is to get the respective parties working together on the whole child. The Anglican social gathering rotates on an annual basis between New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma. The principal of the oldest school in the diocese, St. John’s College (SJC), Antoinette Storr said that her SJC Giants will be coming with a full team, ready to bring the overall title back to the ‘Land of the Giants’.

“As the lead school, we expect to come back with the championship. We expect to annihilate the competition,” said Storr. “I think that we have a very balanced team. For the first time, we will be allowing our choir to compete. We have a very powerful choir, and that is going to be launched this time. We also plan to do a very good job in elocution, and of course, we are always strong in spelling and sports.

“What we are intending to accomplish is camaraderie among the students – the rapport. We want the children to really get together and have a good time – interact with each other through sports, elocution and the other areas. We are going to promote what Anglican schools always do – promote wholeness in the development of all of our children.”

St. John’s College has been in existence since 1947. The school will have its annual ‘Mardi Gras’ under the theme, ‘Celebrating 65 years of Excellence’, the following weekend at the school’s Bethel Avenue campus.

As for the other Anglican school in New Providence, St. Anne’s School Principal Cynthia Wells said that her entire school is motivated to re-capture the championship it last held in 2006.

“All of the students are being encouraged to play their roles to the best of their abilities, and cheer for their team,” said Wells. “We’re normally very strong in elocution, cheerleading and softball. We have a strong basketball team as well, and this year, we expect our track team to make a very good showing. The camaraderie is what is important though. You are supposed to come away from the festival having made a new friend in each of the schools and that is our intention,” she added.

The St. Andrew’s team is expected to charter a Bahamasair flight to the nation’s second city for the event, while the Giants and St. Anne’s Blue Waves are planning separate boat excursions. Parents and old scholars are asked to contact the respective schools to organize their travel arrangements.

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