MURPHY TOWN, Abaco, The Bahamas — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said, on April 6, 2017, that the renaming of the Abaco Central High School, in Murphy Town, Abaco, to the Patrick Bethel High School was fitting for such a prominent educator and nation builder.
“This Bahamian exemplar’s life of service evokes for me a line from a popular poem, The Unknown Citizen,” Prime Minister Christie said at the renaming ceremony held at the school. “In it, W.H. Auden expresses this simple but profound line: ‘For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.'”
“Mr. Bethel typifies this statement, having spent some 30 years of his life toiling in the field of education, as well as providing community service for his hometown of Abaco, and as well serving and setting standards for the broader Bahamian community,” he added.
Prime Minister Christie pointed out that, even in post-retirement, Mr. Patrick Bethel remained an active contributor.
Even though Mr. Bethel hasn’t lived his life exactly as an overall Unknown Citizen, Prime Minister Christie noted, his faithful service and his overall contributions to the success of the country could eventually become blurred in the memories of future generations. That is why it is apt that his legacy is kept alive in the Abaco district and the Bahamian community, especially through the renaming, he said.
“By renaming the Abaco Central High School the Patrick Bethel High School, we are ensuring that our present and future generations of Bahamians are forever reminded of the contributions of another of our sons of the soil,” Prime Minister Christie said. “In the field of education especially, he will always be remembered as one of our faithful patrons.”
Prime Minister Christie acknowledged the presence of Mr. Bethel’s beloved family, friends, former colleagues, and those who had come to endorse this prestigious recognition of naming a public building in his honour.
“As I have indicated, this practice is one that was implemented by our government to herald the effective and efficient work of many ‘unsung heroes’ in our country,” Prime Minister Christie said. “It is a way to ensure that those who displayed stellar leadership qualities are forever remembered in the annals of the history of The Bahamas.”
To the administrators and teachers, Prime Minister Christie said he hoped that they were inspired by the “stellar” performance of “one of our nation builders” and that they were motivated to continue to support the students.
“You are charged with the task to prepare our students for life in the twenty-first century. This is no small feat,” he said. “The challenges are many, but if you work together, and continue to — in line with the school’s motto – ‘Seize the Time,’ any feat can be accomplished by you.”
To the parents present at the event, Prime Minister Christie said that the Almighty has blessed them with the great responsibility of rearing their children to be productive citizens.
“You must give the love, care and discipline that is necessary to make this a reality,” he said. “I implore you to cooperate with the teachers as they seek, like you, the best for your children.”
To the students, Prime Minister Christie said that their patron was an educator who cared about the wellbeing of children and wanted to see them succeed.
He also thanked Minister of Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Jerome K. Fitzgerald; Permanent Secretary Donella Bodie; Director of Education Lionel K. Sands and the personnel of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for their commitment to the Bahamian children.
“I acknowledge the Acting Principal, Ms. Ethlene McIntosh, and the administration, teachers and staff of the Abaco Central High School for the fine effort you have expended in organizing this festivity,” Prime Minister Christie said. “And, therefore, it is with distinct pleasure and a sense of profound pride that I now join with the citizens of The Bahamas and the people of Abaco, in renaming the Abaco Central High School to the Patrick Bethel High School. The record has now been set.”