No apology for being a proud alumnus

Some long standing staff members at the Alexandra School are being made to look like criminals simply for showing unconditional love and dedication to the institution they all attended.

But the school’s Deputy Principal Beverley Neblett-Lashley is having none of it and made it clear she would not be apologising now or ever for being a proud Alexandra girl and trying to hold onto her alma mater’s traditions.

“I have been extremely disturbed by the fact that it is being painted as a criminal offence to have an allegiance to your school, to want to see the best for your school, to want to maintain high standards for your school,” she said.

“And it is apparently okay for other people in other schools and we know very well how other feel about their schools … but if the Alexandra old scholars do it then it’s a crime.

“I have never heard anyone say the school belongs to us and I would say that we have a large percentage of old schools is actually a plus because many times when those same teachers want to throw up their hands and say ‘I ain’t dong this or I ain’t doing that I quietly say to them ‘Remember this is your school’.”

The official was testifying at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

“I am a proud alumnus of the Alexandra school and I have realised that in some ways that is presented as a negative, and I want to say that I have no apologies for the way that I feel about my school,” the witness said.

“And I know that in some cases people have suggested that the old scholars this and the old scholars that, so I need to state up front that I am an old scholar I am proud of my school, and whatever actions have taken have been in the interest of maintaining the traditions of the school and the image of the school in the community.”

The official, who will resume her testimony on Monday, also dismissed suggestions that she and other old scholars working at the St. Peter school were akin to a clique.

“That has not been my experience… You would have to appreciate that persons who have gone through Alexandra School would have built up relationships long before the newer members of staff arrived,” she said in response to questions from the commission’s senior counsel Milton Pierce.

“So that to me it is not surprising that people who have gone to school there have had more in common with each other than those who have newly come, but I have not observed that they have interacted amongst themselves to the exclusion of the others.

“The associations that I have noticed have been based on experience, those who have been there tend to associate among themselves, and that is not just Alexandra old scholars, and when I say associate I am talking about lunch. To be honest the first time that I realised that there was a problem was after the inspection report,” she added. (SC)

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