The Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc. on Sunday bestowed special honors on stalwart community advocates James Cordice and Godfrey Pitt, and recognized former national footballer (soccer player) Lennox Duncan.
The sell-out, gala ceremony took place at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn during the group’s 31st anniversary celebration, which is also held annually on the Sunday before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s public holiday.
“Congratulations to our two honorees!” Jackson Farrell, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc., told patrons in his introductory remarks.
“They both deserve it (honor),” he added at the event, attended by U.N. Amb. I. Rhonda King, U.S. Consul General Selmon Walters and his deputy Edson Augustus. “Later, we’re going to show our appreciation to Mr. Lennox Duncan.”
Farrell – a long-standing teacher in New York’s sprawling public school system and an ex-teacher in his homeland – subsequently told Caribbean Life that Cordice and Pitt have done “impressive” work in the community.
He also said Duncan – who, with his brother, Ainsley “Teerie” Duncan, represented the St. Vincent and the Grenadines national soccer team in the midfield position – has been a staunch supporter of the group over the years.
Cordice – the architect behind St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ participation in the illustrious Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania and mastermind behind the flying of the Vincentian national flag on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia – dedicated his award to his mom, Liliath Cordice, who turned 88 last month.
“It is really moving when I think about being honored by my teachers, who inspired and nurtured me to become the man I am today,” Cordice, who spent the Christmas holidays at home with his mom and other family members, told Caribbean Life.
“My mom will always be my ultimate teacher,” added the former president of the Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania. “She will always be my anchor, because she understands me.
“Teachers are also gifts from God, and I am very thankful to be honored by my teachers,” he continued.”
Pitt – a former member of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and Ex-President of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ex-Police Association of New York, who founded the Brooklyn-based Friends of Argyle International Airport, U.S.A. – said he was grateful to the ex-teachers’ group for “considering me as one of the awardees.”
He said a trip home a few years ago – with some former local police officers and current Caribbean ones in New York, in which they experienced luggage and other difficulties while in transit – inspired him to establish the Friends of Argyle International Airport, U.S.A.
To date, the group has handed over to Gov. Gen. Sir Frederick Ballantyne over US$35,000 from funds raised in the United States, Pitt said.
Duncan – who, with Ainsley, was also a top midfielder for Hairoun Sports Club in the 1980s in the Central Brooklyn Soccer League and other soccer competitions in New York – simply said “thank you” after presented with the plaque.
“It was a surprise,” Duncan, who was honored on Aug. 23, 2008, with his wife, Dawn, by the Brooklyn-based cultural and educational group, Club St. Vincent, Inc., told Caribbean Life afterwards tersely. “They did not tell me anything (before).”
Patrons raised over US$1,100 towards the Christmas storm relief effort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Farrell said his group will match that amount.
In its continuing community educational outreach, Farrell also said the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc. will hold a forum on Feb. 28, at Trinity Methodist Church on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, on the Argyle International Airport.