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Lynam Agriculture College was, ANRI is, and the students are the future – World Food Day address by Anthony Chanona

Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2022. 10:07 am CST.

By Anthony Chanona: Let me begin by thanking Honourable Dr. Louie Zabaneh for extending an invitation for me to attend and participate in this World Food Day 2022 event at this iconic location that was once Lynam Agricultural College. A truly fitting location for this occasion and I say this with a deep sense of respectful emotion.

In 2020, the population census of the world was counted to be 7.75 billion people. In just 2 years thereafter, despite famine, war, disease and pandemics, the world’s population grew to an estimated 7.98 billion people in 2022. Belize’s contribution to those statistics is 414 thousand persons.

So, what does Belize have in common with the other billions of people in the world? The basic answer is food – the world and its population of people all need food to survive. And we all depend on planet earth, its soil, water, and sunshine to grow this food. It is a relationship in peril simply because we do not respect it.

I was 16 years old when I first set foot on these grounds along with 120 other boys from every district within the country of Belize. Some boys from as far north as Sartenaja, the deep south of Barranco, far west from San Ignacio and east from Belize City. Back then, it was called Lynam Agricultural College; an all-boys boarding school managed by the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. What was the common denominator that brought all 120 of us together? Adventure yes! But more importantly, I believe it was a shared love for the outdoors and the chance to obtain a High School education in agriculture; a course that only Lynam offered in addition to the standard academic curriculum as the other High schools.

While I was invited to speak about my Lynam experience and I will try to do so mindful of the fact that Lynam was, ANRI is, and you are, as students, the future of this institution.

As I stand at this podium today, the eyes of my mind can race back in but a milli-second to see images of my teachers, my mentors, and the many other faces and sounds of that relives my experience that was Lynam. Please permit me to pause to pay a humble tribute to living legends like Maestro Pat Scott and Maestro Hernan Ochaeta. And to fallen giants that was Father Urban Kramer S.J.; to remember my teacher, Maestro Russell “Chiste” Garcia who had the vision to reopen these once abandoned Lynam school grounds to co-ed youths. A tribute also to Bridget Cullerton and so many others who worked tirelessly at keeping Chiste’s vision alive. I ask you to please stand and join me in a round of applause in remembrance of these giants. (Applause)

Students of ANRI, I was Lynam; today you are ANRI; what do we share in common? I would venture to say that perhaps we share a love for the outdoors, an opportunity to learn about agriculture, a life skill, a trade, or a profession. Perhaps we share a common pursuit to think different, act different and be the difference we want to see in our lives. We both made a choice to pursue our education on a path less travelled. Today, you and I share the fact that we walk on hallowed grounds. We are unique! This soil that we stand on today produced greatness in men – and it will produce greatness from the seed that God has planted in you. You have the power within you make a difference in your home, your school, and your country.

How do you harvest greatness?

1. Be respectful of authority-it will teach you discipline and open closed doors to opportunity; that is what Lynam taught me!
2. Be resourceful- it will teach you common sense and work ethic; that is what Lynam taught me!
3. Be helpful – it will teach you the importance of God’s blessings in your life; that is what Lynam taught me!

On this World Food Day, I close my remarks on this note. Agriculture is a noble enterprise. Discover the greatness of God in you and find your place and make a difference in a hungry world by being respectful, resourceful, and helpful.

I am proud of all that Lynam was; you have a chance to make ANRI proud by being a better you! Always remember….” the future of mankind is in the hands of one man, the farmer”.

Thank you!


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