THE EDITOR: At Barataria Boys’ RC School in 1964, under Eric Anatol as principal, two outstanding innovations occurred early under his watch.
First, a new galvanised roof was installed and although it made the school look beautiful on the exterior, the teachers and students suffered inside, for when the rain came down in torrents no work could be done since the voices of neither teachers nor students could be heard amid the sound of the falling rain.
Anatol therefore collected pennies and cents from teachers, parents and children and presented the school with a brand new amplifier and public address system so that he could address the entire school on matters that were important or urgent and, above all, the morning, lunchtime and evening prayers could be said with more effervescence.
To make use of the public address system, Anatol came up with more innovations. First, any boy whose work or activity was outstanding during the week would be brought before the microphone and over the system praises of him would be heralded.
One could therefore imagine the honour that would be bestowed on a boy who could enter the principal’s office and speak on the public address system to the entire school.
But Anatol made another outstanding innovation. When the rain poured and all formal teaching stopped, a class would be required to send a representative to the microphone to either sing or recite a poem to the assembly.
One wet Friday morning in July, the rains poured down mercilessly and Anatol’s voice interrupted us all: “Mr Liverpool, today is your day to send a boy to sing a song for the school.”
“Whom shall I send,” I asked my class, desperately.
The class roared back: “Sir, Errol,” they shouted.
Errol bowed his head and began to cry. “Sir, why me?” he remarked, the tears rolling down his face.
“Well Errol,” I answered, “this is a democratic class and if the class picks you, you have to go.”
Reluctantly, Errol went up to the principal’s office and tearfully rendered the song Melody D’Armour. When he was finished the noise from the voices of the schoolboys drowned out the rain and Errol was the hero.
My class applauded him endlessly. We the teachers were all shocked and came together hurriedly, for a sweeter voice from the classmates we had never heard.
There and then we made Errol sing the song again and took him to the Aunty Kay Talent Show the very next Sunday. At first, Aunty Kay was hesitant, but when she saw us teachers together endorsing Errol, and deceased pianist Aldwyn Albino, yet another teacher and the show’s musical accompanist, endorsing our choice, she put him on the show immediately.
Errol came first that Sunday on Aunty Kay’s show and Errol Asche, the talented Trinidadian artist, was born that Sunday evening. Last week, he left us for Heaven, to sing for the angels and saints.