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Senator Barry Griffin Encourages Students to Appreciate their Education at 47th Annual Virtual Flag Day Ceremony

On Friday, November 19, 2021, St. Augustine's College held its annual Flag Day ceremony, however for the first time since its existence, the ceremony was virtual.

SAC's Flag Day traces its history back to 1973, when the then principal, Deacon Leviticus Adderley established the ceremony to give students to opportunity to celebrate the Bahamas' recent independence from Britain. Because school was closed when the Bahamian flag was raised for the first time, Deacon Adderley thought it important to give students and staff the opportunity to recreate and honour the momentous occasion together. 

In her address, SAC principal, Sonja Knowles '70 stated that "the goal of our Flag Day is to preserve the traditions, history, pride, and respect that are due to the nation's symbol, our flag."

The event has been held every year since 1973, with the exception of 2016, after Hurricane Matthew, and in 2020, during the pandemic. 

The Most Reverent Patrick C. Pinder, Archbishop of Nassau, and class of 1970 SAC graduate gave the invocation thanking God for his "continued blessings upon our nation." 

Kobe Forbes, student council president for the 2021-22 school year, elaborated on what the Bahamian flag respresents. "The two aquamarine stripes represent the pristine waters that surround our country. Between the stripes of aquamarine lies the gold, which symbolizes our golden sun, our wonderful sand, and our profilic land resources. Gluing the aquamarine and gold together is the black triangle which symbolizes the vigour and valour of the united people of The Bahamas," said Forbes. 

Sara Williams,  secretary of the student council, introducted the guest speaker, Mr. Barry Griffin, vice president of the senate and 2005 SAC graduate of St. Augustine's College. 

In his address, Senator Griffin challenged us to think aboutwhat the flag means as Bahamians, especially as young Bahamians who are far removed from the cimate that the Bahams became an independent nation. 

"We are lucky to still have those among us who have experienced the joy and pride to see the British Union Jack flag come down for thelast time, and the Bahamian flag hoisted for the first time on July 10, 1973," said Senator Griffin. 

Moreover, he reminded students how fortunate they are to have the opportunity to attend school at a private school, a luxury that many of their grandparents and great-parents were not afforded.

"We have made huge strides as an independent nation. You occupying the seat you now sit in is an example of this. The mass education of our people is perhaps the single greatest accomplishment of an independent Bahamas. Before independence, there was just one public high school in The Bahamas, the Government High School, and private schools wouldn't accept people who look like you and me," said Senator Griffin. 

He ended his speech by telling SAC students that they are the heirs of the legacy of our forefathers and mothers who brought transformative change to the country.  As the theme for the school year is "A Climate of Change", he encourange students to think of the progressive changes they can make to The Bahamas.

READ ALSO: Student Council Executive Members and Debate Team Visit Senate

Singing the national anthem was ninth grader, Micah Bethel, followed by the school band, lead by music teacher Mr. Ian Young, performing 'Come Go With Me' by Bahamian artist, Stevie S. 

Band members consist of Alexis Godet, Ianna Young, Ka'leeah Bevans, Dantia Kemp, Isabella Young, and Camryn Lubin playing the violin, Jee'Von Pratt playing the piano, Mr. Ian Young playing the bass and rhythm guitars, Mr. Samuel Heastie playing the goatskin drum and Chernise Maycock, and Alexis Roberts providing vocals.

Otto Laing, student council vice president, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Shimar Bain, grade 12 student played the drums during he raising of the national flag, and Sierra Joseph, student council treasurer gave the vote of thanks. 

The video concludes with a prayer lead by Ms. Vernice Russell, head of the religion department at SAC. 

Press play on the video below to watch the ceremony.

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