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GHS marks 95th year with church service

GHS marks 95th year with church service


Sunday, May 14, was not only celebrated as Mother’s Day, but as the day past and present students of the Girls’ High School (GHS) gave thanks to their bounteous mother, their Alma Mater. Celebrating under the theme, “Let Us Give Thanks Together,” members of the wider GHS family gathered at the St. George’s Cathedral in Kingstown for a thanksgiving service to mark the 95th anniversary of the school which was established on May 8th, 1911.{{more}}

The feature address was given by past student of the school, the Honorable Rene Baptiste, the first and only past student of the all-girls school to win a seat in a general election, sit in parliament or hold a government ministry.

Minister Baptiste urged students to use the opportunity they have been given as students of the prestigious school to get the education they were “sent to get”. She used the example of her own mother, Beryl Baptiste, also a past student, who “did not come from a rich home”, but won a scholarship to enter the school in 1939, excelled while there, and used what she learned there to guide her through life.

The Minister reminded the congregation that while in her mother’s day there was only one scholarship available from the Kingstown Board, today there were “hundreds of scholarships” which allowed “poor people children” to get an equal chance for education at an institution that “finishes and fits young girls for a role and place in society by sound grounding in high morals and personal values.”

The Old and New Testament readings were done by Governor-General’s Deputy Monica Dacon and Chief Education Officer Susan Ryan, respectively, both past students and former teachers of the school.

Ten intercessory prayers, beautifully written by past student Gwendoline Russell, were read by former students and one present student, representing different periods of the last 95 years. Stella Anderson, Shirley Charles (representing Viola John), Carlita Cordice, Elsa Velox, Gwendoline Russell, Laura Anthony Browne, Andrea Bowman, Mavis Findlay, Kaylia Duncan as well as the youngest present student of the school, Tizana Latham, offered up prayers for the school, its founders, women, peace, teachers, social justice, students, our country and leaders, the church, and for the 21st century. Past student and former Headmistress Jeanne Horne also said a prayer for departed members of the school family.

One of the highlights of the afternoon’s proceedings was a dialogue entitled “Then and Now,” performed by past student and former Headmistress Lorna DeBique and present student Jimisha Roberts. The piece, written by past student Vynette Frederick, compared the uniforms, disciplinary systems, curricula and games played in the earlier years with what obtains today. Even “Miss Beryl’s” unforgettable milk fudge was mentioned.

Two awards were presented, the first to former teacher Irma Norris for her contribution to the school, especially in the area of the Girl Guides. Her citation was read

by past student and former Headmistress Joye Browne. The second award went to Norma Keizer, past student and former Headmistress, for her contribution to the development of the school. It was noted that she had taught at the school for 36 years, 15 of those as Headmistress. Her citation was read by past student and former teacher Althea Commissiong.

Of course, the service began and ended with the singing of the familiar school hymns “Lord Behold Us/Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing,” and was punctuated with other school favourites and the school song. The sweet and lusty singing was led by a small choir made up of past students and well wishers of the school.

The church was beautifully decorated with floral arrangements in the school colours of blue and white. The one disappointment of an otherwise enjoyable afternoon was the low turnout by present students and their parents.

The call to worship was done by Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Patrick McIntosh, with the closing prayer and blessing given by Bishop of the Windward Islands, the Right Reverend Leopold Friday.

The service of thanksgiving was organized by a committee made up of members of the class of 1955 led by past student Jeanette France.