Category: Amy Roberts Primary School

A Sad Loss for Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle Cay lost a much-loved stalwart of the community with the recent passing of Iva Lowe Scholtka.

Born on June 13, 1935, Iva was the second of four children and the only daughter of Albert Lowe and Annie Curry Lowe. She was a happy, outgoing child who loved to read and write, and was rarely spotted without a book in her hands.

Amy Roberts All Ages School circa 1950

Iva Lowe (third from left) with her classmates at the Amy Roberts All Ages School. Teacher Amy Roberts is second from left, headmaster Jack Ford is at the back right, and Iva’s brother Alton is in overalls in the front row.

“Iva was very smart and popular,” says her younger brother, Alton Lowe. “She was a real doer and an organizer, always gathering friends together for beach outings and parties. She and Alice Gates Albury would organize dances.” And, with the help of local commissioner, Mr. Gerassimus, Iva and Alice arranged Saturday night movies for the community.

Amy Roberts Garden Club Fundraiser This Saturday

This Saturday morning, February 25, from 9:00 am to noon, the Amy Roberts Primary School Garden Club will hold a fundraising bake sale at Green Turtle Cay’s basketball court. Along with sweets and treats, they hope to also sell locally grown herbs such as basil and cilantro.

Fundraiser for the Amy Roberts Primary School Garden Club takes place this Saturday, February 25, from 9am to noon at the basketball court.

Members of the Amy Roberts Primary School Garden Club with Stacy Jones Maxwell, Teri Ray and Kim Daugherty, who generously donated seeds, gloves and other supplies. Photo: Ashrica Gardiner.

Amy Roberts Fall Fest and Guy Fawkes Celebration Tomorrow

The Amy Roberts Primary School invites you to their annual Fall Festival tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. on the basketball court. There will be a cake walk, hay ride, various games and of course, a Guy Fawkes competition, where you can enter your own Guy for just $5.

If you’re on the cay, come on out and help support our local school kids!


Daily Photo – April 18, 2016

Primary School Students, Green Turtle Cay (circa 1950)

Photo: Albert Lowe Museum

It’s Museum Monday! Today’s photo, taken sometime during the early 1950s, features the students of Green Turtle Cay’s primary school. How many of these faces can you name?

As a start, the woman second from left is Amy Roberts, and the redhaired boy in coveralls in the front row is artist Alton Lowe.

South/Central Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Joaquin

Storm 3

What if today, with little warning, your home was completely demolished? Your car was flooded and damaged beyond repair. The boat with which you make your living? Gone. Your neighbours’ homes? The local grocery store? Your child’s school? All severely damaged — or leveled all together.

What would you eat? Where would you find clean water? Even with cash in hand, where would you buy the necessities of life?

The Early Days of Amy Roberts Primary School

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Amy Roberts Primary School, circa 2006

If you’re at all interested in Abaco or Bahamian history, you should check out my cousin Evan Lowe’s blog, Out Island Boy. Evan is the grandson of Bessie Curry Lowe, sister to my great-grandfather, Herman Curry. We connected online several years back and since then, we’ve shared the fun (and, occasionally, the frustration…) of tracing our common island roots.

In his latest blog post, School Days, Evan writes about Green Turtle Cay’s tiny Amy Roberts Primary School (originally known as the All Age School.) He draws on accounts from his late father’s journals, as well as interviews with Bahamians who either attended the school or who knew its earliest teachers and schoolmasters.

Pupils of the Green Turtle Cay All Age School, circa 1933. Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

My own grandmother, Lurey Curry Albury (1919-2010), attended the All Age School from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. That’s her, second from left in the back row of the above photo. Her teacher, Amy Roberts, for whom the school would later be renamed, is at the far right of the picture.

“Before 1932,” my grandmother told me, “we had a big school. There was an upstairs and it had porches. We did regular school work and singing and prayers. And Amy Roberts would teach crochet work and sewing to the older girls.”

Bahamian artist and historian (and my cousin) Alton Lowe, says the original All Age School was in fact very large, able to accommodate up to 400 students. Plays were often staged at the school, he says, for the enjoyment of the entire settlement.

But on September 5, 1932 — what was to be the first day of school after summer vacation — a category 5 hurricane took direct aim at Green Turtle Cay. During the storm, which battered the cay for three long days, people with houses on low-lying land took refuge on the school steps when their homes flooded.

“They said they could feel those steps shaking,” my grandmother told me. “Later on, people whose houses had been destroyed tried to get up to the schoolhouse for shelter,” she said. “But the school was gone.


Nassau’s Jack Mertland Malone stands in the ruins of Green Turtle Cay’s All Age School shortly after the 1932 hurricane. Photo courtesy of Marysa Malone/Wayne Neely.

Sadly, when the hurricane moved on, all that remained of the big, beautiful All Age School was its Abaco pine floor.

With lumber and building materials difficult to come by, and with the local population dwindling as families moved away in search of work, the people of New Plymouth built a smaller, more modest school — the building we see today.

amy roberts, bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay

To learn more about the early years of the Amy Roberts Primary School, see Evan’s terrific blog post.

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An encouraging message etched into the concrete steps of the Amy Roberts Primary School.

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