Past principals, teachers and students joined current principal, staff and students of the Marriaqua Government School, and well-wishers, to pay homage to the school which has served the community for the past 122 years.
The Marriaqua Government School opened its doors in 1897 – a wooden structure – built by funds from then colonial government through the Methodist Church. It was the first school of its kind in the community and for many years remained so until schools were opened in Cane End and Richland Park.
Thus, in celebration of its 122nd anniversary, the principal, staff and students of the Marriaqua Government School held a church service under the theme: “Forging Ahead; Achieving our Dreams; 122 Years Strong”.
Chief Education Officer (Ag.), Elizabeth Walker, expressed her pleasure at being able to celebrate this “significant milestone” with all those who were at the service. Walker taught at the school, served as principal, and later became an Education Officer with responsibility for that said school so that her “direct involvement in the school spans over 20 years”. She encouraged the staff to continue to build on the “rich history” of the School.
Area Representative, Minister of Education and past student of the Marriaqua Government School, Hon. St. Clair Prince, said he was happy to see some of his former teachers at the service. Minister Prince said the school is an important institution not only in Marriaqua but in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He asked students to take note that they belong to a school which produced many noteworthy vincentians. The Minister of Education commented on the students who played the pan during the service. He noted that this is indeed a “revolution”. Prince said the staff should now focus on what they need to do for the next 100 years.
Past teacher, Cecil Charles, who began teaching at the school in 1980, gave a history of the school. He said the first teachers at the School were Barbadians and according to him, the early principals were very dedicated to their roles to the point where some even visited homes in search of missing pupils. Marriaqua Government School has always had a strong cultural legacy, Charles disclosed. The school participated in the then P’Tani Carnival, and singing was a huge part of the school – a period was set aside for singing. Charles also said the school has a strong tradition in quality education.
Principal of the Marriaqua Government School, Kathleen Joyles, said she is blessed to be a part of the celebrations having joined the staff in 2017. Joyles explained that the theme, “Forging Ahead; Achieving our Dreams; 122 Years Strong”, exemplifies where the school has come from and where it is going. She urged parents to help teachers by building on the work that is taught in the school.
Currently, the school has 284 students and 16 members of staff.
Several past principals and past teachers including former Area Representative, Girlyn Miguel, were also recognized at the service for their contribution to the development of the school.