MINISTER of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald was the guest speaker as RM Bailey Senior High School honoured its heroes at the 45th anniversary Red Ball Hall of Fame Gala
He told the enthusiastic gathering at the black-tie affair that he was extremely pleased they were reflecting on the past and honouring leaders who have made a difference – not only in the life of the school but also that of the country.
“It is my opinion that when we honour our own, we are telling the world that greatness rose from among us and we too are great.
“There are countless numbers of outstanding educators and alumni who have walked the corridors of RM Bailey Senior High School over the years. I hope that there are other opportunities to expose the current student body to other revered administrators and graduates of RM Bailey,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
Following his remarks, 10 alumni were inducted into the first Charles Mackey Hall of Fame, including:
• Dr Sidney McPhee, Business and Profession. He is the10th president of Middle Tennessee State University; an institution he has headed since 2001. Dr McPhee has headed several other tertiary institutions in the United States including Oklahoma State University, University of Louisville and the University of Memphis.
• Superintendent Elaine Sands, Humanitarian Service – Law Enforcement. Supt Sands has worked in various divisions of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and was instrumental in implementing a Domestic Violence Victim Support Response Unit.
• Senator Gregory Burrows, Athletics and Sports. A businessman and the founder/president of the Freedom Farm Baseball League. He is also the president of the Bahamas Baseball Federation and is currently assigned to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. He has helped many Bahamians attend college on baseball scholarships.
• Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, Humanitarian and Service – Labour. A registered nurse who has worked in the public health care system. She is also a trained teacher who has taught in public schools throughout the Bahamas. She is currently a lecturer and chair of the School of Education at the College of the Bahamas. Ms Dotson-Isaacs is a leader in the trade union movement in the Bahamas and is the second vice president of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL).
• Antonius Roberts, Arts and Entertainment. A renowned artist who was the founding curator of the Central Bank of the Bahamas and a member of the team responsible for transformation of the Villa Doyle into the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. His works can be found in private art collections in Italy, South Africa, Canada, England, Germany and the United States.
• Rev Ranford Patterson, Humanitarian and Service – Religion. The current president of the Bahamas Christian Council and pastor of the Cousin McPhee AME Church, Carmichael Road. Rev Patterson has previously served as a teacher at the Ministry of Education and guidance counsellor at Queen’s College.
• Dr Christopher Basden, Medicine and Science. The managing physician at the Medi-Centre. Dr Basden was awarded a United World Scholarship after graduation from RM Bailey, which he used to attend Atlantic College in South Wales, UK. He completed his medical training at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. He has worked at the Princess Margaret Hospital in the obstetrics/gynaecology department prior to entering private practice.
• Portia Stubbs-Smith, Humanitarian and Service – Politics. Schooled in New Providence, after graduation she moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands; her parents’ birthplace. She was elected the Member of Parliament for the Bight Constituency in the 2012 general election there and appointed Minister of Health in April 2013.
• Ricardo Deveaux, Humanitarian ad Service – Youth. He credits teachers at the RM Bailey Senior High School with restoring him when others had given up. He is the founder of the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation and is currently a senior assistant secretary at the Ministry of Labour and National Insurance.
• Christine Robinson, Pacer Pride. She has worked in numerous government agencies including the Ministry of Home Affairs, Public Treasury and Bahamas Customs. She has lived in Freeport, Grand Bahama for the past 17 years, where she is a successful business owner. She frequently gives motivational talks and financial support to her alma mater.
Portia Smith said she was honoured to have been chosen. “As a newcomer to politics with responsibility for a very demanding portfolio, receiving this award humbled me. I will continue to beam with pride as a proud Pacer alumnus,” she said.
“I was deeply moved to be among such a distinguished and accomplished class of inductees,” said Dr Sidney McPhee. “It was a profound honour to be recognised by an institution that played such an important role in shaping my life.
RM Bailey Senior High School opened its doors in 1968 as the Highbury High School. In 1972, then Minister of Education Carlton Francis changed the school’s name to honour Robert Melville Bailey, a man who fought for the right for all Bahamians to have access to quality education.
Mr Bailey played a significant part in the establishment of the original Government High School.
Juanita Butler headed the school from 1968 to 1977.
Prior to that, she taught at the Eastern Secondary and St Anne’s High Schools.
She also served as the senior mistress and acting principal at the Mfantsiman Girls School – a boarding school in Ghana, West Africa.
In honour of Ms Butler’s achievements at the school, a dormitory was named “Butler House”.
Charles Mackey started his teaching career at the RM Bailey High School in the 1970s. He impacted the lives of many students through his coaching and mentoring practices.
He rose up the ranks in the teaching profession to serve as vice principal at RM Bailey, CR Walker and Doris Johnson High Schools. He retired in 2013.