December 9, 2008

Lusignan School by Patanjali Ramlall

Posted in Buxton, Education, History, Lusignan tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:27 am by randallbutisingh


My name is Patanjali Ramlall, 60 years young. I am a Graduate from Lusignan Anglican  (Primary) School, having attended that school from kindergarten to when I passed my School Leaving Certificate at the age of 13 in 1962. Lusignan is a sugar estate located on the East Coast of Demerara, about 12 miles from the capital city of Georgetown, in British Guiana ( now Guyana after independence in 1966).

I strongly believe in the Esoteric School of Thought – some souls are born collectively, within a specific time to carry out a Divine plan. And it is not in our so-called reasoning to know what that plan can possibly be; moreover, the doctrine also poses difficulties for the layman outside of Esoterica, to even begin to appreciate its significance.

I am fortunate to have attended Lusignan Anglican School under the GREAT leadership of Cyril George Hopkinson (C.G.H.) Bryan, Headmaster. He was an excellent administrator and we had some of the best teachers who produced many outstanding students. Mr. Bryan moulded the school into one of the finest primary  and most respected institutions of learning on the East Coast of Demerara during the early 1950’s to the 60’s.

It amazes me that many of my counterparts from three little villages – Buxton, Annandale and Lusignan, older and younger, who are part of the Guyanese Diaspora, turned out to be highly qualified professionals, vocational experts, and other artisans. The fields encompass those on the medical side, law, teaching, business, writers, poets, agriculture, etc. This does not preclude the fact that there were a few students who came from higher income families and were therefore better students, but about ninety-two percent of them were from parents in the agricultural sector, (which was seasonal,) and working for under the government’s minimum wage scale.

How was it done? Mr. Bryan was as rigid a disciplinarian as he was a Master of Masters. I remember him taking it extremely personal when we did poorly in English and Arithmetic exams, he would resort to some stinging treats for low marks, but not an everyday action. His motto I remember clearly as he said it in 1959 “You live in an English colony and must use the language properly; and without Arithmetic, the ability to count, you will not be able to do anything else, you will be lost in the world.”

Like formative years, the foundation of any discipline is most important. Under his stewardship we got top notch instructions starting in kindergarten at age four, and later, in all disciplines, except science and algebra, which were not in the colonial syllabus at that time in primary schools. At fourth standard we started geometry and in School Leaving Class it became a little difficult. My daughters graduated from High School in Miami, Florida, and they never reached the level of some of my geometrical problems I encountered at age twelve.

There was an article in the Miami Herald about two years ago that stated High School Seniors were not able to find London on a map. We studied those things at age nine when we learnt about the equator, northern and southern hemispheres, temperate, and torrid zones, etc., and as was known at that time, the five continents ( now seven). My School Leaving Certificate, which I passed it at age 13, allowed me to sit and pass the GED, (equivalent of High School Diploma,) in the US army at one sitting, with no further schooling. This demonstrates the solid grounding of my education while at Lusignan School.

Mr. Bryan reminds me of the West Indian cricket team shaped under the late prince of cricket, Mr. Frank Worrell, whose legacy was passed down to captains Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kalicharran, and the most Winning Captain of all – Clive Lloyd.

Likewise, Mr. Bryan’s imprint lasted for close to two decades. As Teacher Cyril Sarjoo stated earlier, Lusignan was the winner for most competitions and exams, and had a myriad of activities including gardening, sewing, bookbinding, shoe making, cricket, and even a library at the back of standard one. The library was later moved over to the Community Center. In cricket the Lusignan School team coached by Mr. Bryan had a streak of seven successive inter-school championships 1955-61 with Brahmdeo Persaud captaining the first three years, never duplicated.

Whatever the purpose for so many graduates of Lusignan Primary School being involved in an amazing mass emigration, globally, there can be no doubt that it is only the beginning a Higher Plan. I believe the greatness of the Master, Mr. Bryan, will unfold in future generations. When he stopped teaching in 1961 British Guiana lost a great guru, teacher and Headmaster. After he left, Mr. Randall Butisingh carried the baton and was exemplary when I graduated one year later.

Patanjali Ramlall
8th December 2008


1 Comment »

  1. randallbutisingh said,

    Patanjali Ramlall was one of my pupils when I assumed duty at Lusignan Government School as a Senior Assistant. He was a bright handsome, quiet lad, a favourite of the teachers. He was in his last year studying for the School Leaving Examination which he passed with honours, being rated number one in the whole colony (British Guiana then). This could have made him a pupil teacher, but his uncle with whom he was living kept him to work in his grocery store for no wages. In one school year, he was kept away from school for five successive months. This hindered his progress. When he got older, still a young teenager at fifteen, he broke loose from his uncle and ventured out to sea in a fishing trawler to try his fortune. I heard no more of him until I came, many years later to the United States to live with my daughter in Florida. He was living at that time in Miami. When he heard from a friend that I was in Plantation, he immediately came and picked me up and took me to his home. There I met his gracious wife Esther and their two lovely and bright daughters, Niyama and Urvashi. From then, we have not parted company, but I would visit with him and be his guest for days. I found him to be well informed on many issues; he has a library with a large collection of books on every topic, some very rare, and a huge collection of records, tapes, CD’S etc. with music of every description. I also found him to be a very good cook. My stay in his commodious and beautiful home was the best I have had anywhere. I still visit him; and now I have invited him as a guest on my weblog as he is a good story teller and an accomplished writer.

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