Tears flowed this afternoon as hundreds gathered at the St Lucy Parish Church to bade farewell to 16-year-old Temario Holder, the Frederick Smith Secondary student who was stabbed to death at the Trents, St James institution on November 8.
It was a difficult send off as Temario’s family and friends struggled to say good-bye.
His distraught mother Sabrina Bishop cried out as she mourned the loss of her first born.
Even before the service started, as scores streamed into the church, Bishop stood at the side of her son’s peach and white casket, in tears. For several minutes, she sat in a chair at the side of the casket grasping that final opportunity to look at his face.
Students from Temario’s upper fifth year group wept quietly throughout the service, and several of them were supported by counsellors present.
The tears continued to flow at the gravesite, especially as Temario’s casket was lowered. The teenager’s relatives hugged and supported each other.
His hurting classmates huddled while teachers, many of them with tear stained cheeks, embraced their students.
“I want him to come back,” one voice shouted amongst the tears.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw, several other Cabinet Ministers and leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla DePeiza, were amongst those officials who attended the funeral.
Ministry officials, including Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson were also present.
Temario was remembered as a caring son and loving big brother who was protective of his siblings.
Those who gathered heard about how he took his role as a prefect seriously and that he proudly looked forward to graduation day.
As he read the eulogy, Member of Parliament for St Lucy Peter Phillips shared some of the memories communicated to him by Temario’s family and friends.
Phillips said he was told that Temario was the handyman of the house as he was talented and tried to fix anything that was broken and most of the time he was successful.
“Another descriptive term that can be associated with Temario was fun-loving. His mom recalls those times spent together and in particular, visits to Flindt Restaurant. As they entered holding hands and enjoying their time together, Temario noticed that persons were staring quite intently and as if to read their minds, he said quite loudly, ‘don’t worry, she is my mother’. He loved his mom just as much as she loved him but he had one rule for her, that was no PAPP – no parental affection in public places, Phillips said.
His dad Dane Miller recalled the times he and his son spent together and described Temario, a former student of Half Moon Fort Primary School, as a talkative individual who asked many questions. Miller pointed out that Temario was always willing to learn and had the ability to grasp things quite quickly as demonstrated when he was being taught to drive.
Phillips said Temario’s grandmother and aunts reminisced about his culinary skills, especially his “mean” white rice and frizzled salt fish, and his ability to produce some of the “ugliest” but nice tasting bakes.
The MP recalled that he met Temario six years ago at a popular liming spot in the constituency.
“Today we’ve gathered to give thanks for the life of Temario or TeTe and we share in the pain associated with this moment with our tears, our words of comfort to his parents, relatives and friends. Let his life be a light and let this moment propel us to take time to care for our youth in particular and mankind in general,” Phillips said.
Upper 5th year head Sandra Gilkes who delivered a tribute on behalf of Frederick Smith School said like a typical teenager, Temario had his days of following the crowd, but eventually became settled and started working steadfastly on his studies, particularly furniture making which was his passion.
Gilkes said he was the life of his class as expressed by Principal Major Michael Boyce who taught him Career Guidance. She said his friends all spoke lovingly of him and they enjoyed his sense of humor.
Gilkes explained that after showing an interest in bettering himself as well as his peers, Temario was selected to be a prefect.
“Two weeks later, at the form level meeting, I told his mother that I was so happy and impressed by the changes I saw in Temario.
She too was elated and expressed her gratitude to all the teachers who contributed to this turnaround.
“During the meeting, I noticed the mutual love, respect and even playful banter between a son and his doting mother. At the end of the session, Temario said, “Mam, put down my name for graduation,” Gilkes recalled.
One week later Temario was the toast of the school, having made it to the finals of the WorldSkills Barbados Juniors Competition in Cabinet Making even though he did not have much exposure to the use of the woodwork shop.
“Yet another week later, Temario was taken from us,” Gilkes said.
“I will certainly miss his goofy antics and his infectious smile. To his parents, your world was turned upside down and you unfortunately have to deal with all of this but you can be assured that you don’t have to bear it alone because the Frederick Smith Secondary School family will be there for you as we share your loss,” she added.
Gilkes also remarked that even though the tragic situation “floored” her, she was hopeful that Temario’s death would be the catalyst for change in schools and will cause Frederick Smith Secondary, like the proverbial phoenix to rise from the ashes.
“Come July 3, 2020 Temario will not be physically with us at our graduation but I will put his name and I am positive that his spirit will be there,” she said.
Frederick Smith students carried Temario’s casket into the church. And the school’s choir rendered a beautiful tribute in song. It was a touching moment when Toni Hinds sang Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All.
Delivering the sermon, Canon Curtis Goodridge asked those gathered to remember Temario’s close relatives and friends who are hurting.
“But we must also remember in our prayers the other family, for they too are hurting, they too are in pain and we must also pray that God will strengthen them. God will give them the grace to continue,” Goodridge said.