Belize City, BELIZE
My name is Rudy Bowman, a former student and teacher of what was a long time ago, Lynam Agricultural College in the Stann Creek District. You may recall that this Jesuit institution abruptly closed its proverbial doors in 1971. It was an event that never brought closure to all of us who were directly or indirectly affected. After all these years since, a group of committed alumni still believe that the true story of this high school should be retold. They believe that the school, and what it meant to them individually and to Belize as an emergent nation, deserves no less an effort.
To this end, I plan to visit Belize around the middle of September of 2017 and, along with a group of other Lynam alumni and teachers, (some of whom are now in their early eighties like Maestros Hernan Ochaeta, and Pat Scott), to meet in an effort to try to finish a manuscript of the book project – Lynam: a retelling of this story which we hope to present to the Belizean populace: schools, libraries, businesses, government agencies, individuals, etc.
The pages of its manuscript try to capture the story of Lynam Agricultural College from the perspectives of a small subset of willing contributors from the hundreds of students, teachers, and religious persons, who passed through those proverbial doors some half a century ago. Many are no longer with us, but their stories, along with ours, can only live on, and be retold to others, through the oral and written tradition of those who experienced it. This is an attempt at that story with its trials and tribulations, and its triumphs as epitomized by its institution’s motto: “GIVE ME A BOY, AND I’LL GIVE YOU A MAN”.
While these recollections are real, many are best left to be told by the boys themselves — accomplishments that went beyond the academic arts and sciences of its classrooms and into coaching and showcasing some of the best sporting athletes a high school in this country ever produced.
The manuscript also makes special mention of the actions of the former Minister of Agriculture, Russell “Chiste” Garcia, who tried at an effort to “resurrect” the statutes and tenants of a Lynam education for both boys and girls following the closure of the institution. Today, along with the Government of Belize and with the help of others, he succeeded to launch the creation of Lynam Natural Resources College (Agricultural and Natural Resource Institute (ANRI) later) which operates at the site where the Jesuit institution that was Lynam once stood.
And so we plan to come together to bring closure to our story later this month, and we ask you, Editor Sir, to please publish this effort in an appeal to all who would like to participate and contribute in the final compilation of this work: Lynam –the book.
Please feel free to get in touch with me through Mr. Carlos Santos of Belmopan, or Mr. Anthony Chanona (a reunion at his farm on September 20th), or Mr. Hernan Ochaeta of San Ignacio, (reunion on September 23rd) so we can finalize the stories to this book and then perhaps begin a new chapter of harnessing the agricultural possibilities of Belize by empowering our youth and our farmers with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the importance of agriculture and the timeless virtue of discipline and hard work. As Fr. Weber said of Chiste’s efforts of reopening Lynam on Why Not Island in Dangriga, “Why Not?”
Thank you for affording us this exposure in your most prestigious and widely circulated newspaper.
For and on behalf of the Lynam Agricultural College Alumni