~ Mr James S. Sammy (1890-1980?)|
James Suknanan Sammy was associated with Naparima College for 57 years, from its earliest days until the end of his long life in San Fernando. He participated in and contributed to all the growth and changes on the Hill, served for years as vice-principal, and together with Rev. Walls and Mr. Bissessar was revered for decades as one of the Three Pillars of Old Naparima.
In 1939, Mr Sammy married Marion Sabzali (1915-1972). Rather famously, they had eight sons, all of whom naturally attended Naparima.
The following resume of Mr Sammy's career at Naps was carried in the Blue Circle Supplement on May 25, 1961:
Mr. James S. Sammy was born on the 14th of February, 1890. He received his early education at Grant School, now the San Fernando Presbyterian. In 1904 he entered Naparima College, which at that time was an open-air institution under a mango tree on Coffee St. In 1909 he graduated, and in 1910 he joined the staff. At 22, Mr. Sammy temporarily recessed as a Master, and spent two years at Dalhousie University reading for a medical degree. But unfortunately he had to return home because of family commitments. He resumed teaching in 1915. In 1929, Mr. Sammy was appointed Vice-Principal of the College, a position he held until he resigned in 1956. He also acted as Principal on three occasions.
[Ed. - Mr Sammy subsequently continued to teach on a contingency basis].
When he rejoined the Staff in 1915, he was appointed Sportsmaster of the College. He was also a keen sportsman, captaining the Oriental Cricket Club, and in 1919 the Trinidad East Indian Team against the B.G. East Indian Team. He was the founder of the Susamachar Tennis Club; a boat-racing enthusiast; and a good footballer. He still plays bridge.
As a teacher, Mr. Sammy has taught almost all subjects. He was the first teacher of geography in the H.C. class. He taught Latin in the S.C. forms and Spanish in the lower forms for many years. At present, he teaches Latin, history and mathematics in the lower school.
Mr. Sammy is an ardent supporter of the church. For fifteen years he was a devoted member of the Susamachar Church Board.[Ed. - Mr Sammy continued in this capacity for 14 more years]. He was also Secretary of the Naparima College Board. In 1954, Mr. Sammy now regarded as Mr. Naparima, went on leave for seven months. He visited the U.S.A., Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
In his fifty-seven years of association with Naparima, he has not been absent from active service for more than fifty-seven days.
Mr. Sammy understands human nature. He knows how to get along with people. As an administrator, his views are highly respected. He is a ready listener even of those who hold opposite views.
Mr. Sammy is a keen student of history; he has a detailed knowledge of the history of San Fernando - perhaps more than any other person alive, for he has seen the development of the town from the very beginning.
Mr. Sammy is a fine example to the youth of today. He is strong, healthy, reads the newspapers without spectacles, and still drives his car. He is a deeply religious man and devotes much of his time to his family.
The name of Naparima has now become synonymous with that of Sammy. One of the Houses has been named after him. We pay tribute to him today as one of the local pioneers of our institution because of his many years of invaluable service to tits students and to his community in general.
M. Saladin. Form 6BM.