Wadadli Youth Rally

Youth Rally in Antigua and Barbuda is a rite of passage, or has been since 1981 when our country became independent. Every November through the second half of my primary school years, all of my secondary school years, and still all these years later, the youth of the nation practice their drills and when the day comes put their best foot forward. Left, right! I’ve lived to see kids I saw born grow up and do it (one year, one of my nieces, a youth award winner for sports, was even selected to receive the eyes right from the primary schoolers before rushing to join her secondary school when it was their turn to give the eyes right). The march pass never fails to inflate my chest and prickle my eyes at that parade of hope and possibility felt most keenly in the days when the rally would move from the ARG and take over the streets of the city; I hate that it’s removed from the community all the way up to the new stadium. But…it is what it is.  And it’s still not only a highlight of our Independence but the best showcase of all that remains good among/about us – because the children are the future and all such ‘clichés’.

I drew on my favourite youth rally memory –  the first year my secondary school, CKHS, had its own marching band and actually my last youth rally as a student – when I wrote in Musical Youth:

Were there really scouts from Temple University coming to hear their grade six marching band beat out Short Shirt’s Pledge, poorly, at Independence? Probably not, but when they marched across the green of the Antigua Recreation Ground and saluted the Governor General, Lauréna Lee’s back straight in spite of the big bass drum she carried, they’d believed it and had lifted their knees higher because of it.

That’s basically what happens at a Youth Rally…and then the treats. Do they still do the treats?

This being an arts blog rooted through the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize (for which it is a platform) in young people, young Antiguans and Barbudans, and creativity, I thought I’d share some of my favourite youth rally moments as captured in these images from the public facebook pages of the A & B Festivals Commission and my alma mater Christ the King High School. The same disclaimer used with my Children’s Carnival post applies.

my alma mater CKHS... they meant business

my alma mater CKHS… they meant business

Do it with rhythm...PM School style

Do it with rhythm…PM School style

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not to be left out, the little ones do it with style

not to be left out, the little ones do it with style

teens may be *eyeroll* over it when it comes to everything else...but this youth rally business is serious business...just look at the precision of those arms, the expressions on those faces on the girls from AGHS

teens may be *eyeroll* over it when it comes to everything else…but this youth rally business is serious business…just look at the precision of those arms, the expressions on those faces on the girls from AGHS

Go on, my youths! ...not to be left out, the boys of OCS...

Go on, my youths! …not to be left out, the boys of OCS…

Salute!

Salute!

Flag man! See that man there? He's a staple of all national festivals whether you send come call him or not; he doing it for the love.

Flag man! See that man there? He’s a staple of all national festivals whether you send come call him or not; he doing it for the love.

Some might call this ambush marketing...as a fellow writer, I'm going to call it creative advertising.

Some might call this ambush marketing…as a fellow writer, I’m going to call it creative advertising.

…and there you have it, highlights of youth rally Antigua style 2015…young people rallying around their flag and marching for school pride with passion and energy… now if we could only harness that all year round…look at it, and just imagine!

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Blogged by site admin and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Literary Gallery

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