Miss Sadie Vernon is Special Envoy’s Trailblazer of the Week Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

This week’s trailblazer made waves in one of the most important areas of a nation’s development; education! Ms. Sadie Vernon (1918-2008)

No truer words were spoken of Sadie Vernon than a 1983 description of her as an “advocate for the voiceless and the powerless”. Sadie had no idea that the outcome of her 1963 proposal writing efforts would result in a permanent home for twenty-five times as many girls and boys in similar situations to those of the four mothers who first sought her help more than three decades earlier. On September 6th 1999 a ceremony was held to rename the Belize Continuation School as Sadie Vernon High School.

Sadie started the institution in 1964 in the borrowed spaces of the YWCA. After they ran out of space at the YWCA they moved first to the Catholic Extension building and then to a leased space on Dean Street in 1994 before a permanent space was secured for the now Sadie Vernon High School at the end of that decade. Almost a quarter century after Sadie had begun the Belize Continuation School she established the high school preparatory institution ‘Friends Boys School’.

In practical terms Sadie was an educator, nurse, counselor, missionary, grant writer and administrator. She was born on March 20, 1918 to Elsa Agatha Maheia Vernon and Frederick Vernon. Sadie began her schooling at the Shepherd School, a kindergarten operated by St. John’s Church, before going to her aunt’s private school (Ms. Annette’s private school) and the Diocesan High School (St. Hilda’s College/Anglican Cathedral College). She completed high school and worked for a little while before she left then British Honduras with a group of missionaries for a life of experiences in the Caribbean and the United States. When Sadie assumed the duties of Executive Secretary of the Christian Social Council in 1963, all the training, skills and experiences she had acquired in her ten year hiatus came into full use in Belize. Sadie Vernon passed away in December 2008 at the age of 90 but her legacy lives on!