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Rutherford visits old school

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: Oct 05, 2013

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Olympian Frank Rutherford returned to his “old stomping ground” L.W. Young Junior High School yesterday, offering words of encouragement to the student body.

Rutherford recalled the days, during assembly meetings, when then vice principal Amy Ashwood would say to the school, “Eagles reach for the stars.” According to Rutherford, this phrase and the many challenges to Fred Munnings, his teacher at the time, pushed him towards greatness. Rutherford was the first Bahamian to win a medal in athletics at the Olympic level. The former national record holder in the triple jump, Rutherford, soared 17.28 meters for the bronze in the event that saw a new Olympic record set, by American Mike Conley.

“A lot of things in my life did not happen by an accident, and me coming to speak here to the student body, and not even knowing that today is World’s Teachers Day, is another landmark for me in my life,” said Rutherford. “Boys and girls, Eagles, it is simple. My name is Frank Rutherford Jr., I attended L.W. Young as a seventh grader in 1976. That seems like a long time, but listen to me very carefully, ever since I walked through those doors, the Eagles’ nest was the incubator. I can always remember the vice principal, her name was Amy Ashwood. If it weren’t for the teachers at L.W. Young, I would not be who I am today.

“This school is an extension of my family. It defines me and gave me the blueprint to success. It uplifted my understanding and creativity. It challenged me academically, and pushing me towards greatness were the teachers. In fact, one of my teachers is still here, and it brought joy to my heart. The one phrase that always stuck in my head was from Amy Ashwood, ‘Eagles reach for the stars, and the worst case scenario you will be in the clouds.’ That is stuck in my head even now, at the age of 48. That one phrase and that one challenge from Freddie Munnings were all helpful.”

Rutherford said Eagles country will always have a special place in his heart. He, along with Evon Wisdom, head of the Sports Unit in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, encouraged the students to support Bahamians.

Wisdom said: “Bahamians have this thing where we do not appreciate what is ours. We love ‘foreign’. I just came back from Cuba with the minister of youth, sports and culture and everywhere they can hang a picture of a hero of Cuba, they did. We walked into a gymnastics school and the children were able to tell us all of their national heroes. This gentleman walked in here, and you couldn’t say who he was. An interesting fact about him is he went to L.W. Young. We have gems, diamonds, superstars, our own Lebron James, and we don’t pay homage to them. We are going to do that this morning.”

Wisdom revealed that a triple jump pit would be placed in one of the primary schools in New Providence in the upcoming months. He is expecting more pits and other training facilities to be built in more schools.

 


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