The man of the moment, Major Sam Headley (sitting) celebrating with generations of his family in 2014. (FP)
Major Sam Headley has passed.
The man who changed the status quo at The Lodge School by being selected as the first black head boy in the 1940s, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday morning.
The 89-year-old had been ailing for sometime and missed the December 2017 ceremony when he, Owen Estwick and Earl Glasgow were honoured by the school.
Sam was one of Euston Headley’s ten children. The bus driver, who plied the Martin’s Bay route, instilled the value of education in his son and ensured he had the best schooling by sending him to private lessons.
At age nine, Sam qualified for a Vestry scholarship. Although he was not chosen, the lad from Venture, St John, entered The Lodge School on an internal scholarship.
Sam would make waves at the school in 1947 when the “white members of staff”, not the blacks, voted him head boy. A delegation of white boys opposed it and Sam declined the appointment, but the headmaster ordered them back to class.
Headley went on to win an Island Scholarship and entered Codrington College where he later graduated with honours in classics, ancient history and modern philosophy.
He said when he applied to teach at his alma mater, there was no acknowledgement from The Lodge School. He was accepted at Harrison College where he spent 16 years, instilling his brand of discipline in the Harrison College and Barbados Cadet Corps simultaneously.
Headley went on to have a successful career as a civil servant. He was permanent secretary of Defence and Security in the Prime Minister’s Office under Prime Minister Errol Barrow, and helped establish the Barbados Coast Guard Service in 1972.
He ran a gas station in Market Hill, St George for 40 years.
He was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Errol Barrow Award for his contribution to the public service. (SAT)