50 years ago: Students excel, state of schoolhouse panned

NEW Bodden-50-years-logo-final-595x420In the July 6, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

“Mrs. Julia Cameron, fondly known as ‘Jule,’ died on Saturday, July 2.

“Born in the nineteenth century, she had lived to an age of over ninety years. For several years before her death she had been blind.

“Mrs. Julia, a most industrious lady, was an excellent shoemaker. She once owned horses, which for many years were the only means of transportation for the doctors and ministers visiting the eastern districts. Many people still remember the white mare which the Rev. Samuel Douse often rode.

“A quiet and persevering woman, Mrs. Julia was a regular attendee and communicant member of the now United Church in Bodden Town.

“Her surviving relatives in this district are her grandniece Carolee, Mrs. Dora Hislop and her daughters Carolyn, Meriel and Laurel, who deeply mourn her passing. She has lived with and been cared for and deeply loved by the Hislops for more than twenty years …

“The district of Bodden Town must be proud of the results of the Selection Examination published in the Caymanian Weekly last week, as three students from the Savannah School passed with flying colours. Anna Kareen Watler, Hewitson Watler and Minnie Eden were placed in Group One of the passes, i.e., they will each receive a full scholarship for his or her education at the Secondary Grammar School.

“Last year, two other pupils from the Savannah School passed the Common Entrance Examination in Group One.

“These scholastic feats are all the more commendable when studied in conjunction with the conditions under which these children study. The school house at Savannah is undoubtedly the island’s worst classroom. A low, unlined corrugated roof makes the interior very hot. The noise of rain pounding on the iron stops all work. Having no glass windows or glass doors and no artificial light, it must be dark as a cave when the place has to be shut during the rains.

There are no screens to keep out the mosquitoes. There is no fence to protect the children from the traffic on the adjoining highway.

“Now for a little constructive criticism. A few truckloads of marl or sand could cover the small but rocky yard. A few sheets of masonite would be sufficient for a ceiling.”