WHITTINGTON BROWN, of the Class of 1988, presents the boxes of hurdles to Ainsworth Beckford, athletic director, as physical education teacher Jameison Pratt and acting principal Lisa Miller look on.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AS they deal with the uncertainty of COVID-19, Nassau Christian Academy will start rebuilding its Crusaders’ track and field team for the new school year with a generous donation of hurdles from the graduating class of 1988.
As a part of their 30th anniversary, the alumni class purchased the 10 hurdles through the Sports Centre before the lockdown of the country because of the coronavirus. But they were not presented to the school’s athletic director, Ainsworth Beckford, until last week.
“We contacted Mr Beckford and asked what they needed. He said that several of their runners did very well, but that they needed some hurdles,” said Whittington Brown, who spoke on behalf of Ancenette Wallace-McCartney, the vice president of the class. “This is not the first opportunity that we made any contributions to the school. We provided some computers during our 25th anniversary and we hope that we can continue to make contributions wherever it is necessary, especially when we celebrate milestones.”
Brown, who will celebrate his 50th birthday on Monday, said through their gesture, they are hoping that they can inspire other alumni classes to come forth and do their part to assist in the development of their alma mater.
“The school can’t do everything. They need a strong alumni association to help out,” he said. “The school is producing quality athletes as well. They had one who had qualified for CARIFTA and so this should help to boost the Athletic Department.”
Beckford thanked God for the gift they received from the alumni class, which he assured them will help in the development of their athletic programme at NCA.
“It will definitely help us because we have discovered now that the BAISS (Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools) has become so competitive that we could use all of the help we can get,” Beckford said.
“One of the areas that we realise that we really need help in is in the hurdles. We have students who are talented enough to do the events, but we didn’t have the equipment to prepare them.”
With this donation, Beckford said they feel as if the purchase of the hurdles will help them to secure the necessary points needed when they compete again against the powerhouses like St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine, Queen’s College Comets, St Anne’s Blue Waves and St John’s Giants.
“We just hope that things could return to normalcy because we had athletes who have become comfortable with our coaching staff, who have been knowledgeable in helping us to improve our programme,” Beckford said.
“We were right at the start of the National High School Track and Field Championships when sports was halted because of the coronavirus. We felt that we did pretty good at the BAISS meet this year and would have made a good showing at the nationals.”
Beckford credited the addition of Jamieson Pratt, the son of legendary long/triple jump coach Peter Pratt and Clinton Smikle, who also coaches the Quick Step Track Club. They join the rest of the Physical Education staff that includes Michelle Miller and Donna Brown.
“Hopefully when we readjust ourselves to the new norm of COVID-19 as we get back to normalcy, our track programme can continue to flourish, as the other disciplines that we compete in during the BAISS season.”
Beckford thanked the alumni association for coming forward and assisting their alma mater and that the relationship will continue to grow as they build on their athletic programme at NCA. Kudos for a job well done.