O Ellerslie, my Ellerslie!
By Wayne Collymore-Taylor | Fri, November 30, 2012 - 12:00 AM()
WOULD THE POWERS THAT BE please not change the name of Ellerslie Secondary School.
In recent times it has been the changing of the Garrison Secondary School, St Lucy Secondary School and St James Secondary. Now I am hearing the rumour that Ellerslie will be next.
The debate on this has been explosive, and I can understand why. It’s the fear the school will lose its most profound song – O Ellerslie, O Ellerslie – so brilliantly crafted by former English teacher Mrs Yvonne Forde and exquisitely arranged by music teacher Mr Irvine Harris.
I will now crave your indulgence in a few inspiring lines of this most affectionate school song:
O Ellerslie! O Ellerslie! Generous alma mater benign,
O Ellerslie! O Ellerslie! You mature and imbue the mind.
Sons and daughters in their station
Will find deep pride in this our nation
And torches be diffusing light,
Beacon fair for those pursuing right.
Quite prophetic! Therefore, let the powers that be do right.
This school song brings a sense of pride and self-esteem to many. Ask any alumnus or current student; the response is the same. But now, the school is sobbing and aching to the bone at the imminent name change.
Let’s look at the reality. If Ellerslie changes its name to Cuthbert Brathwaite, we will lose the essence of the school song. It won’t sound right singing: “O Cuthbert Brathwaite, O Cuthbert Brathwaite.”
One may deduce from this premise that it would be very odd, and the creative juices of Mrs Forde and Mr Harris will be down the drain.
Let me bring a measure of balance to the debate. If the powers that be rename the school Ellerslie-Cuthbert Brathwaite Secondary School, then the song would have extended life. Clearly, if one chooses to drop Ellerslie, many Ellersliens’ hearts will be broken. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15)
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