SABA–Saba Girls and Boys Sports Society (SGBSS) celebrated its 50th anniversary with an ecumenical service and blessings at Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom on Friday, and a drum band parade on Sunday. The parade, led by SGBSS drum band, started from Saba University School of Medicine campus and ended at Princess Juliana Sports Field where a ceremony was held, closed off with a party.
The celebratory ecumenical service was a solemn moment with all youth dressed in the society’s attire and with offi cials in attendance. Island Governor Jonathan Johnson and Commissioner Bruce Zagers made speeches during Sunday’s
ceremony at the sports field. SGBSS leader Ludwina Charles honoured her predecessor and founding member Carmen Simmons with bouquets of flowers, after the drum band marched on the field shaping the number 50 in a special presentation.
Many other certificates were handed to various members and supporters of the youth society over the years. On various occasions the history of the society was recalled, especially Simmons’ pivotal role and her late husband’s unwavering support for her endeavours. SGBSS was initiated for youths living in The Bottom who did not have access to many afterschool activities. Simmons took it upon herself to mobilize community stakeholders and by Memorial Day, May 4, 1962 the group held a public presentation attired in the now signature uniforms.
The group received official recognition on October 1, 1962 with Millicent Wilson, Elisabeth Hassell, Golda Sorton, Joyce Smith, Shirley and Yvonne Smith as cofounder. SGBSS went on with a series of year-round sports and cultural activities and competitions, and organised handicraft activities, sport and cooking classes aided by volunteers such as Pauline Paul, Sister Gertrude, Dr. Gerlink and Diane Wilson. The group organised annual trips to over 16 different Caribbean islands as well as to Disney World, with participation depending on good school performance.
SGBSS also organised the first Book Week on Saba at Sunny Valley Youth Centre with the support of then Governor Wycliffe Smith and Sacred Heart School Principal Franklin Wilson. The society’s current signature activity, the drum band,
was initiated in 1963 with a purchase of drums by John Larmonie. Joyce Smith was the first to play drums and help. Police officer Siegfried Maria took over in the 1970s and led the band for many years. Carmen Simmons passed on the leadership torch to her daughter Miranda Simmons in the 1990s.
Source: The Daily Herald, October 3, 2012