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Posted: Wednesday 26 June, 2024 at 10:07 PM

Irishtown Primary renamed in honour of stalwarts

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — RECOGNIZING their contributions to students, the McKnight community, and the education sector, the Ministry of Education and the Irishtown Primary School have renamed the institution to honour two former principals.


    The late Sylvia Smith and Mazie Halliday have received the honor of having the Irishtown Primary School renamed in recognition of their contributions. Together, they have more than 60 years in the education sector and were instrumental in educating many prominent individuals in society today.


    Geoffrey Hanley, Federal Education Minister and former teacher at the school, confirmed that this initiative is the first of many. The government plans to consult with various communities to rename educational institutions that do not have a formal name, in recognition of individuals' contributions to the sector.


    “...I'm calling on all of the communities, all of the school principals and staff and students to start thinking of the names of all of our learning institutions that do not carry a name other than its original name. Simply put, as we move forward all of our schools will be carrying names of persons who would have contributed in many ways in education and of course not forgetting community as well,” Hanley told the gathering.


    Speaking at the official renaming ceremony, Hanley explained that naming the school in honor of the two women reflects the importance of branding and identity. He posited that, "the renaming of the Irishtown Primary School as the Halliday-Smith Primary School symbolizes excellence, continuity and nation building. It bridges the past and the future honoring the legacies of two extraordinary women while embracing the evolving landscape of education".


    “ Mrs. Maisie Halliday, a former principal of the Irishtown Primary School, dedicated her life to shaping young minds both in these walls and the surrounding community. Her unwavering dedication, compassion and commitment to excellence left an indelible mark on generations of families. Mrs. Halliday believed that education was not just about imparting knowledge but also about nurturing character, resilience and empathy. 


    “Mrs. Sylvia Smith was a beacon of wisdom and dedication. I am saddened that she did not live to see this day. However I am consoled by the fact that she knew of the ministry's intention and gave her approval. Mrs. Smith's lifelong service to education transcends mere numbers. It embodies a passion that defies time. Her tireless efforts have touched countless lives. Her commitment to fostering and nurturing an environment for every child regardless of their background or their ability.”


    Chanel Byron-Cassius, Principal of the educational institution, noted that the name Halliday Smith Primary School was chosen to reflect the values, aspirations, and inclusive “forward-thinking community we strive to be.”


    Addressing the large gathering at the school's compound, she said, “The renaming symbolizes a fresh start and embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, and unity that defines us.”


    “The significance of renaming our school lies in reflecting our values, mission, and community identity. Our new name symbolizes our school's aspirations and principles, aiming to create a sense of pride and unity among staff, students, and the wider community. It also reflects a desire to modernize or shift to focus to align with contemporary values and educational goals,” the principal added.


    Byron-Cassius emphasized that the renaming is not just a change in name but a new beginning, reaffirming the school’s commitment to excellence in education.


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