December 5, 2008

LUSIGNAN SCHOOL by Cyril A. Sarjoo

Posted in Education, Guyana, History, Lusignan tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:21 pm by randallbutisingh

LUSIGNAN SCHOOL by Cyril A. Sarjoo

Dear Mr. Butisingh:

I am indeed very honoured to be asked to make a contribution to your BLOG.

My name is CYRIL A. SARJOO, age 66, from Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, GUYANA. I have known Mr. Butisingh and Mr. Cyril Bryan since the 1950’s.

I was a primary school pupil of the Lusignan Anglican School (now Lusignan Government School) in the 1950’s, when the Headmaster was the distinguished Mr. Cyril George Hopkinson Bryan, the father of Cyril Bryan who is a guest contributor on your blog. Under his tutelage I became the first pupil teacher that the school produced (1958). The first In-Service Teachers’ Training on the East Coast was held at Buxton in 1962, and I was fortunate to be the youngest of about five teachers at that school to be selected. Lecturers included Miss Ceciline Baird, Mr. Agostini, Mr John, Mrs. Lucas. Courses included teaching subject content and methodology. School Master, Mr. A.A. Charles was in charge of the Training Programme.

I taught in that Lusignan School for 25 years and attained the position of Senior Master before I migrated to the USA in 1984. During my years there I have worked with many Headmasters and acting Hm’s namely – Mr. George Bryan, Mr. Reginald Sears, Mr. Randall Butisingh, Mr. Jaleile Rahman, Mr. Roopram, Mr. Cumberbatch, Mr. James Singh, Mr. Derrick Prashad and Mr. Laljee.

Among the outstanding and dedicated teachers were Mrs King, Mrs Simon, Mrs Lee, Miss Stephenson, Mr. Ogle, Mr. Chadwick Yearwood, Mr. Goliath, Miss Edwards, Mrs Mendonza, Mr. Cecil K.S.Mercurius, Mrs. Winifred Holland-Bryan, Mrs Melbourne, Mrs Williams, Miss Griffith, Miss Ena Narine, Miss Olive Narine, Mr. Cyril Bryan, Miss Minty Persaud, Mr. Baksh, Mr. Deoram Persaud, Mr. Sidrahim Shaw, and Mrs Faneeza Shaw.

Some of my schoolmates were Bramdeo Persaud, Walter Baichulall, Winston Campbell, Ramsarran Singh, Deoram Persaud and Sheila Persaud.

Those Headmasters and teachers demonstrated a high degree of professionalism, conscientiousness, dedication, integrity, discipline and morality which was the norm in those days. You could not help but to imitate and embrace and emulate the values of that kind of behaviour in your daily lives.

From 1963 when Mr Butisingh took over we made a supplementary reader for the Middle Division based on the history and geography of Guyana. Mr. Mercurius was the leader of that project. We even presented a programme over “Radio Demerara” based on the project. Our school magazine reflected activities in the school district and the PTA. Articles were stenciled and reproduced. We had an annual Xmas concert with skits, songs, dances and the Nativity.

Highlights of extra-curricular activities were games, observance of holidays, school trips, inter-school cricket and athletics, agriculture and home economics

The Lusignan community was chiefly agricultural with a large populace working in the sugar estate. A Community Centre was built in the early 1950’s. Mr Butisingh, in conjunction with the Welfare officers Mr. Ali, Mr. Bart and Miss Philomena, was instrumental in organising numerous activities at the Center – games, library, arts and crafts, cooking and needlecraft. Literary activities included organisations within the Centre – the Adult Education Group, the Study Group and the Tenants’ Association. Qualified personnel were invited to lecture on relevant topics. We staged plays and competed with other sugar estates. We had regular film shows and documentaries about operations at other sugar estates, life in other countries like England and the West Indies. Fairs on the Centre grounds would last a week and drew large crowds.

Those educational activities achieved a high level of success and benefits to the community and neighbouring districts of Annandale, Buxton and Mon Repos from where participants came. Also The Guyana Teachers’ Association district of Lusignan – Non Pareil (Enterprise) had monthly rotating meetings which benefited all schools in the district. Schools and Head Masters in the district were: Lusignan: Mr. George Bryan, Buxton Congregational: Mr. Payne and later Mr. Taylor, Buxton Methodist: Mr Burke; Buxton Anglican: Mr. Edmond Wills and later Mrs. Winfred. Bryan, St Anthony’s Roman Catholic: Mr. Seaforth, and Non Pareil: Mr. Frank Bryan (brother of Mr. George Bryan).

Inter-school activities included annual cricket and athletic sports. There was fierce competition among Head Masters and their schools to see which school would get the most passes at the School Leaving Exam, the Secondary School Entrance Exam, and the College of Preceptors Exam. Of course, Lusignan headed the list year after year in academics as well as in school cricket.

Those who were connected with the Lusignan Community would surely realise that their experiences and memories were precious and unforgettable and their lives were impacted in some measure by them.

I HOPE THAT IF YOU WERE CONNECTED WITH LUSIGNAN AND YOU READ THIS IT WOULD EVOKE SOME FAVOURABLE MEMORIES.

– Cyril A. Sarjoo – December 2008

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5 Comments »

  1. patanjali ramlall said,

    April 1958, Margaret*, sister of Elizabeth, the old queen at Buckingham palace, visited the then B.G.,(Guyana). Lusignan Cummunity Center, most modern and advanced, and the first of its
    kind in the colony, 1958, was the ideal location and facility for such a grand visit.

    Lusignan Anglican School being right next to the Community Center and the Center’s main support, was paramount in Margaret’s welcoming commitee, which was the limelight of Margaret’s entire visit. The grounds of the Community Center was fabulously decorated and its entire perimeter was turned into a mini replica of the industrial and cultural aspects of B.G., under the expertise of the late J.I. Ramphal and Patrick Renison, the gentleman who presided in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Center a few months earlier. Among the replicas was the production of rice, sugar, bauxite and vegetables. An Amerindian family was also relocated from the interior with their typical Amerindian house, hammocks, hunting implements, and cooking utensils included.

    I remember that family and the disgust of the poor father who was exposed to us gawkers. We
    were fascinated, looking at them as if they came from Mars. The family was so original that only the father could speak a few words in English.

    A dedicated and talented group of teachers from Lusignan Anglican School trained select pupils for the welcoming reception, with Rampatti Bebake* a charming beauty, from the 4th standard, who curtsied and presented Margaret with a bouquet of some of Guyana’s exotic flowers. Cars and other vehicles were lined on both sides of the Public Road for approximately two miles, extending from east and west of the Center, and into all of the local streets in Annandale, and the red road leading to the railway line at Lusignan.

    It appeared to me as if all of B.G turned out for that event in April, 1958. The display at Lusignan Community Center was a fair that lasted for one week and culminated that evening when the VIP returned to government house in Georgetown. Statistically, population wise, it was probably the largest event ever attended in Guyana. I even got treated to new footwear for that occasion.

    * Margaret was one of a kind. She never had the hypocritical pretense of blue-bloods, and lived as human beings should, without looking down at others. She reminded me of her uncle, the good gentleman, who abdicated the throne for his love, the commoner, Mrs. Simpson.

    *Rampatti Bebake. I saw her in New York, 1993. It was thirty-five years later, and she was still a beauty, we recounted her capturing the spotlight at Margaret’s visit and she was surprised and delighted that I had retained and kept intact that moment in history.

    Teacher Sarju, you were a dedicated and wonderful teacher. Your description of Lusignan Anglican was apt and outstanding. I will make a copy for your classmate, Brahmdeo Persaud and I know that your good works and dedication to public service follow you.

    Patanjali Ramlall

  2. I first met Cyril Sarjoo in 1958 when I was appointed senior assistant for the Lusignan Government School where the head teacher wsa Mr. George Bryan. He was a pupil teacher then. My first impression of him was his personal appearnnce. He was neat and immaculate from head to toe and had a pleasing demeanour. He seemed happy in his vocation. He was also a very active member of the Community Centre where he shone in the Drama Group. I recall when there was a competition among the sugar estates where he played the major role of jean Valjean, the thief, in Victo Hugo’s famous novel “Les Miserables”, his performance was adjudged the best, and Lusignan won. I am happy that, because of my weblog, I was able to find him, as well as my other fellow teachers and distinguished pupils, among them, Chadwick Yearwood my senior assisrant, a trained teacher,who was very competent and cooperative, and Pat Ramlall, his brightest pu[il whose penmanship and that of Cyril Sarjoo’s reflect the standard of education the school was able to produce.

  3. Cyril Sarjoo said,

    Pat:
    THANKS FOR YOUR KIND REMARKS AND YOUR DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE VISIT OF PRINCESS MARGARET AT THE LUSIGNAN COMMUNITY CENTRE.
    Cy (Sarjoo)

  4. Hi Pat, that post was great. You have a genius and a memory for resurrecting history and relating it so eloquently in language and style which will win the admiration of scholars. You were our brightest pupil in school at Lusignan where you topped the country in the School Leaving examination. Hardly anyone who does not know you will believe that you had only a primary education. You are a son of whom Lusignan and your teachers, among whom I was one, should be proud. I know after you left school you had some interesting experiences, so I invite you at any time to share them on our weblog.

  5. Nesha Cole said,

    Excellent reading and priceless information.
    Impossible to forget my good old days at Lusignan Primary School and Annandale Secondary.

    I do recall the shy and quiet Mr. Sarju and my best friend Jasmine Butisingh.

    I lived at 13 Lusignan, my parents ( deceased ) Chand and Jumrattan Khan, neighbors of the Wilkinson’s and Saffie Goldsmith.

    Once again thank you all for the teachings and the wonderful memories.


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