The Centreville Community is a better place today, and will continue to be a better place in the years to come because of the contributions of former educator and long-time community builder, Ms. Ella Lewis, Minister of Social Services and Urban Renewal, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said. Minister Campbell’s comments came during the dedication and naming of the Computer Lab at the Centreville Urban Renewal Centre as the Ella Lewis Computer Lab.
Ms. Lewis served as an educator in the Public School system for 35 years on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama before retiring in 2006. Her retirement from the teaching profession catapulted Ms. Lewis full-time into community service after joining the Urban Renewal Programme in 2007. Born in the Centreville community, Ms. Lewis has resided in Centreville all of her life, tirelessly working towards the improvement of her community and its residents, particularly the youth and the elderly.
“Ella’s life, her service and her commitment to this community and thiscountry is an example to be followed,” Minister Campbell said at the event which followed all of the health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health to stop the community spread of COVID-19.
“Ella’s is an example to be memorialized. She was born and raised in this community and has decided to remain here in Centreville, not just as an observer but as an active participant in helping to play a role in advancing and upgrading this community — even though I am sure she has had, and still has, the opportunity to move away if she so desires.
“Today is a special occasion because we have come to recognize someone who is unassuming, someone who goes about the business of the work that needs to be done, not concerned about accolades and/or awards, but someone who is simply concerned that there is a need for something to be done, and that somebody has to do it, and who has decided over these many years, that she will be that somebody,” Minister Campbell added.
The ceremony surrounding the naming of the Centreville Computer Lab as the Ella Lewis Computer Lab, was the first of many ceremonies that will be held at Computer Labs across Urban Renewal Centres as a means of recognizing the work of community builders across those islands on which Urban Renewal Centres are located (there are 23 Centres in total) for their diligence and service to their respective communities. Minister Campbell called it a “small beginning” in that journey.
“I am satisfied that this is only a beginning; I am satisfied that the availability of the computer labs will not only touch and enhance the lives of those children in our communities who do not have access to computers at home thereby enabling them to complete their homework, their school projects, etcetera, but that they will also be inspired by the story of an Ella Lewis, as an example, who came, could have gone, but stayed, which may encourage them to stay and to build and to participate.” Minister Campbell referred to Ms. Lewis as: “An integral part of the Urban Renewal Programme.”
“Ella was there when Urban Renewal began to feel its way. She gave guidance; she gave leadership from her heart, from her personal experiences, having been a resident of this community all of her life. She was able to relate to the senior citizens because she knew them and she was able to relate to the younger persons and got them to comply because she knew their parents. Our first band was in Farm Road and Ella Lewis would have been with those parents frying fritters every time the band rehearsed to ensure that funds were raised for their uniforms.
“And so, we have come today to honour someone who is no stranger to us, and amongst us; to honour someone whom we know — without a shadow of doubt — is well-deserving of this honour. She would have served her country 35 years as an educator, both here in New Providence and in Grand Bahama before retiring from the teaching profession and could have very easily taken the position that she had done her duty and could now sit back and relax.
“But, instead, she took the position that as long as she has the ability; that as long as she has the breath in her body, that she will continue to contribute to society and her community, in some way, form, or fashion.
“Ella, I am grateful for your contribution. I am grateful for your continued participation and support and as Minister I want to express the gratitude of a grateful nation, one that owes you a debt of gratitude for your contributions in the past, your contributions now, and your contributions to come. Please know that we appreciate you, that we are grateful to you, that all of the children and young persons and even older, more experienced persons whose lives you have touched in one way, form or the other, are grateful to you.”