Anniversary Service

Presentation at CHSS 50th Anniversary service, January 2012

If you have been a student of CHSS you are bound to be familiar with how and when the school started. You would know that William Hamilton started the drive from the early days of settlement of the Merekins, to educate them. You would know that most of the 574 of these Merekin settlers, who were brought to Trinidad in 1816, settled in Company communities in Savanna Grande, around Princes Town. You would be aware that as early as 1825, Mr. Hamilton, who had established a small institution himself where the Fifth Company Baptist Church stands now, was sending forth preachers to other Company villages to start churches.

You would have also heard about the Reverend George Cowen, the pioneer English Baptist missionary whose mission it was to edify the minds and souls of children of the newly emancipated slaves. And of course, you would therefore know why the school was named after these gentlemen of faith and vision – Hamilton and Cowen.

And you would be familiar with the former principals of the CHSS, an institution which started in 1962 with its founder Rev T S Payne at the helm, followed by Reverend Cranston Bell, Mr. Malcolm London, Reverend Allan Parkes, Ms. Joycelyn Bobb, and the present principal, Ms Marlene Charles.

You would therefore be aware that this institution, the only one of its kind, was born out of a historically significant people, unique in their minority, and critical in their contribution to the economy, education and spiritual foundation of this part of the country.

My research on the community of princes Town is revealing that in the nineteenth and early 20th century, Princes Town, formerly Mission, and previous to that known by the Amerindian name of Nissan, was one of the most significant economic centres in the country.

The faith system of the Baptist settlers developed with the town – through the strength of families and community – through its churches and schools. Those institutions live on, growing from strength to strength. CHSS continues to be a beacon light on the hill, turning out stars that shine all over the world. The faith and strength of the school and its philosophy has touched the lives of all who passed through, Baptists or not. More than 6500 of us have graduated from this institution over the last 50 years, making valuable contributions in many aspects of life in many parts of the world.

On behalf of all 6500 graduates, I wish to express my appreciation to the vision and resilience of the founders of this school. May the vision of the present administrators project far into the future. May the beacon light atop the hill enlarge its circle of brightness to highlight even more stars, and may God continue to bless all who are associated with this esteemed institution.

Thank you.

Iezora Edwards (PhD Cand. Cultural Studies, UWI, St. Augustine)

CHSS student:  1969 – 1974. Teacher:  1977 – 2012

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