Students at L.W. Young Junior High School now have a beautiful, tranquil space where they can delve into books and explore the world. The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training, officially opened the Reading Garden located on the school’s Bernard Road campus recently. Bridgette Seymour, vice-principal and coordinator of the event said the school began a rebranding phase during the pandemic with a mandate to “change the landscape.”
“I believe that when you change the landscape of the environment it changes the mindset. If we can get the mindset of our children, teachers, support staff and administrators to change we would have positive changes in this school. That was the background behind all of this.”
In addition to the contribution of teachers and students, Ms. Seymour acknowledged the work of the hygiene technicians in helping to decorate the school’s entrance, create murals, plant flowers, paint trees, design and build seats and more for the garden.
“Some of them went beyond the call of duty coming in on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. We changed the landscape and rebranded the school.
“We got a donation of 1,000 tires. We painted them, mixed cement and filled the tires. We used the tires and palettes to create seats around the school.
Ms. Seymour said the occasion was also an opportunity to thank corporate sponsors who have contributed to the project. In remarks, the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs recollected his eighth grade Reading Club experience as a student at St. Augustine’s College.
“Once a week in the afternoons after school we met to read a book and discuss what took place in the book,” said Minister Mitchell. He fondly remembered reading “The Dubliners” by James Joyce and while in university “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston and “Put on More Speed: A Bahamian Journey to Majority Rule & Sovereignty” by Sir Clement Maynard.
“It is still a profound adventure for me to pick up a book and read. It improves your knowledge of the world, it improves your vocabulary and your social sense of being because after all we’re social creatures.
“I encourage you to read and inwardly digest. You can learn a lot by reading and I commend it to you,” he added. Minister Hanna-Martin, whose first degree is in English Literature, also shared books that she has read including “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest
“Reading books is important because it’s inspiring in a lot of ways,” she said. “I want to encourage you to read. Some of you will one day write books and we hope more Bahamians write books. We don’t have the kind of library of books in this country written by Bahamians that I would like to see.
“I would like to encourage you young people who are interested in that to feel empowered. Prepare your mind as you move through life to record your story,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.
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