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Sister Pat, no ordinary person

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Sister Pat has transcended.

It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a mother, sister and friend, but this week, many persons here in St.Vincent and the Grenadines have been preparing to do that.

Sister Patricia Ann Douglas was one of those rare persons this nation has been blessed to have had put their lives at its service. God put us in her path some twenty five years ago and this country, and so many successful women and men, their children and grandchildren, are today so much better off because of her contribution.{{more}}

Sister would have simply “steuupsed” her teeth with all the fuss we today make of her life’s work, but we must recall some of her achievements.

She was a dedicated defender of the rights of children, this woman who never gave birth to one. But, she embraced all as hers and became their protector and defender as she gave voice to the voiceless.

Her staff remember her as simply one of the best chemistry teachers in the nation who would not boast of her yearly success rate of 100 percent passes.

As an educator, she increased the number of subjects offered at external examinations, because she believed in exploiting the full potential of the children placed under her care. Today, the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, which came to be nicknamed “Sister’s School”, is the only institution here which offers all of the science subjects. However, this Sister of the Order of St. Joseph of Cluny combined the teaching of the science with that of the catechism, which she did right up to her last day at school.

The educator she was, ensured that Maths and English became compulsory subjects long before this was adopted as policy by the Ministry of Education.

She was the compassionate believer in second chances, who went against convention and quietly started the teen mothers programme which allowed young girls to return to continue their education after bearing a child. This is an example now being followed by government.

This untiring mother, teacher and visionary, ensured that her school became the first to offer Information Technology as a compulsory subject up to third form. She also increased the number of periods from seven to eight, thus ensuring more instruction time.

Never resting, it was Sister Pat who spearheaded the thrust and ensured that an entirely new wing was constructed at the school which permitted more classrooms, computer laboratory, art studio and additional staff room and hall with the capacity to seat five hundred persons.

Under her dynamic leadership, the school obtained a hard-court, a prayer and conference room and counseling room. The SJCM also has a fully functioning farm which supplies fresh chicken, eggs and vegetables for sale to the public. Here, agriculture science is not just a subject, it is a reality.

Sister Pat was constantly negotiating assistance for the many poor and needy children who came to her attention. She secured scholarships for many, based on not just academic performance, but need. Then she ensured that the recipients stayed on top of their academics.

Little surprise that one of the first recipients of a scholarship to Taiwan, was one of the persons who exemplified Sister’s faith in young people and second chances; a young man who had entered the school without having passed Common Entrance but who, five years later, became valedictorian.

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