NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of State for Youth and Sports the Hon. Byran Woodside (in front row, wearing tie) and Saint Augustine’s College Principal Sonja Knowles (right of Minister) pose with members of Team Bahamas, during the team’s visit to the school, on October 5, 2007. (BIS photo: Derek Smith)
By Eric Rose
NASSAU, Bahamas – Education is just as important to the athletes in Team Bahamas as athletics, with all team members having at least one college bachelor’s degree, said Minister of State for Youth and Sports the Hon. Byran Woodside.
“Team Bahamas are good role models, not just for athletics, which we are celebrating at this time, but also for their individual academic accomplishments,” Minister Woodside said during Team Bahamas’ visits to three New Providence schools. “Therefore, the young people at these schools are exposed to persons who know about hard work, discipline, determination and perseverance and who have applied themselves in the athletic arena and, as well, in academics.”
“Even our (International Association of Athletics Federations) World gold medalist, Mr. Donald Thomas, is about to complete his master’s candidacy,” Minister Woodside added. “It speaks so well about this team and they are just such a very special bunch.”
“Education is truly important,” Team Bahamas member Laverne Eve told St. Augustine’s College students.
“Track and field has led to many successes for us and one of them is obtaining a degree, so I encourage all of you to stay in school, study hard and, whatever your dreams are, you have to work hard and I know that you can accomplish them.”
Eve, a graduate of St. Augustine’s College, said it was a wonderful homecoming.
“For me, being back here has brought back great memories,” Eve said. “This is where it started for me.”
Team Bahamas members also spoke to the students about the importance in having pride in themselves and their potential.
“In Team Bahamas, we are very proud to represent our country, no matter where we go and are always proud to wear our uniforms,” Team Bahamas member Derek Atkins told St. John’s College students. “In Osaka, there was more joy for me just to be able to put my uniform and be able to represent the country to the fullest.”
Atkins also told the students about the DASH, which he says he lives by and keeps him on track.
“Determination, Ambition, Sacrifice and Hard Work – If you do that, you can achieve anything,” he said.
“I just want to encourage all you, whether first graders or 12th graders, to always dream big,” Team Bahamas member Christine Amertil told C. W. Saunders School students that day. “No matter what it is you aspire to be, whether it is the next great track athletes, like my team members here, or the great doctor, surgeon or lawyer – whatever it is you want to be – dream big and follow that dream.”
“We will build The Bahamas with persons who are champions in athletics,” Minister Woodside said. “We will build The Bahamas using persons who are champions in academics and we will build The Bahamas with persons who are champions in whatever they touch.”
“The Bahamas,” he added, “is indeed a country of champions.”