Girls’ High School’s Centenary Celebrations

Attaining 100 years of existence is an amazing feat for any institution.

Achieving 100 years as one of the premier educational institutions in a country like St Vincent and the Grenadines is remarkable.

To achieve 100 years as the country’s premier educational institution for girls is awesome; purely wonderful. Indeed one may very well run short of superlatives deemed appropriate to this tremendous achievement.

The Girls High School (GHS) is the second educational institution in St Vincent and the Grenadines to attain the landmark 100 years of existence and yeoman service to this country in terms of their contribution to genuine national development.

 

Female advancement

In a paper presented to the Methodist fraternity at the Kingstown Methodist Church on the evening of 10 June 1999, I stated,

Women’s liberation was once perceived by men too dim-witted to see further than their own egos, to be something that has to do with the burning of bras and of women wanting to be like men. We have all learnt that women’s liberation is much more than that.

Women’s liberation has translated into the empowerment of women to a point that men never would have thought possible. Women have developed tremendous confidence in themselves as whole persons and in their abilities to develop themselves at virtually every field of endeavour.

It is not a case of doing like the men. It is a case of doing the best that one can. It is a case of being the best that one can be.

The process of women’s liberation has not escaped the Caribbean women.

…Women seized the opportunities afforded by successive liberal governmental regimes and rose to new heights.

Success breeds success and women are prime examples of this. The educational achievements of our women have opened up new vistas, and like their counterparts across the world they have been able to challenge the modernist offerings of meritocratic principles and universalistic criteria as the primary considerations for advancement.

The achievements of our women in other parts of the world have steeled our Caribbean women to fight even harder for their rightful place in every aspect of society, not the least of these being the family.

It is one of the hallmarks of educational development around the world over the past several decades that women and girls have come to outperform men and boys at every level of the education system.

The growth and development of women in the field of educational achievement has created a most embarrassing situation for men globally. Fear of what may result has prompted many studies, not the least important of which is Errol Miller’s scholarly document, Men At Risk.

In the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines it is well known that girls outnumber boys at all educational institutions except, perhaps, at the Primary School level.

While men are prone to deny what is happening before their eyes it should be noted that boys in St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to drop out of school much earlier than their female counterparts. Our boys and young men are more likely to turn to truancy, deviance and crime than girls and at a much earlier age.

Police records here reveal that boys and men dominate the criminal statistics.

Evidence from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment shows that boys and men are more likely to end up in the mental home as a result of a range of causal factors not the least of which is the use of prohibited drugs.

There was no surprise therefore that when the time came in 2008 for the St Vincent Boys Grammar School to celebrate its 100th anniversary, this country found it very low-keyed. This seemed consistent with local and global trends addressed above.

Indeed, there are not many Vincentians who can today recall any of the activities held in celebration of the achievements of what should otherwise have been considered a most noble institution and one that has produced significant achievers who have attained remarkable success in every field of endeavour at home and abroad.

Grammar School students are everywhere in the world and one would have expected that the celebration of the achievement of 100 years of service to this country would have been met with tremendous fanfare and a fantastic gathering of minds to fashion activities that would have been as memorable as the 100 years themselves. Instead, St Vincent and the Grenadines was treated to one of the most lack lustre observances of any such achievement in the world.

 

Centenary programme

In stark contrast the observance of the 100th anniversary of the Girls’ High School went for an entire year with a huge list of activities that began with the impressive island-wide relay from both extremities of St Vincent. Attempts were also made to involve the Grenadines. For an entire year St Vincent and the Grenadines was treated to a monthly lecture delivered by a past student who has excelled in one field of endeavour or another, showcasing the tremendous reach of the institution across the globe.

The Girls High School Centenary celebrations was led by a Committee of individuals who worked indefatigably to ensure that the planned activities came off.

That is not to say that every activity was successful. That was certainly not the case. But the fact is that all planned activities were worked at and eventually came off.

There was the Logo and Banner Competitions both of which were won by a current teacher, Jodi Dennie.

There was also the Mother-Daughter Pageant.

The final Week of Activities, 30 April through to 8 May 2011, began with the Netball Festival at Arnos Vale on Saturday.

The following day, 1 May 2011, witnessed the Grand Tea Party on the school grounds that defied even the weather, so large was the attendance. The lighting of the compound in glittering blue and white, the colours of the institution, and the official launching of the Centenary Magazine were key highlights of the Tea Party.

On Tuesday 3 May there was the March from the school to the Victoria Park where the Sports Day was supposed to be held.

On 4 and 5 May there were the Career Days fittingly titled, 100 Years 100 Careers. And the GHS Arts and Craft Exhibition.
The final Centenary Lecture was held on Thursday 5 May with a Gala Awards Dinner on Friday 6 May. Saturday 7 May, witnessed the Blue and White Affair at the Victoria Park with an official countdown to midnight and the ushering in of the 100th anniversary day, 8 May 2011, with great fanfare culminating with a fireworks display. Sunday 8 May featured the ultimate celebration, the Ecumenical Service, the expression of sincere gratitude to the one who made it all possible, Almighty God.

 

Sport in the celebrations

There were two sporting activities during the year. The first was the Netball competition that took place at Arnos Vale while the second was the Athletics at Victoria Park. On both occasions it was truly exciting to see the eagerness of the former students as they sought to compete in almost every event.

The Netball was keenly contested with the ladies defying their ages as they showed the current students that they have lost nothing by way of their love for sport.

Athletics was contested in the Under 15, 15 – 20, 21 – 35, 36 – 50, 50 – 60 and Over 60 age categories.

At the Victoria Park, where the weather conditions were significantly less than ideal, the competition was great. Despite the difficulty experience in trying to keep one’s footing in a wet field and with spills all around regardless of age, the participants stuck to the task of making the activity a most memorable one.

While the young, current students at times appeared too timid to participate under such conditions the former students kept asking for more. The 35 – 40 age group, for example, insisted that they be allowed to have the 200m and the 4 x 50m relay even though these were not programmed for that category.

The over 60 age group participated in full in every event that was conducted on the day, including the three-legged, the sack, lime and spoon and needle and thread races. The ran all of the sprint events as well and enjoyed the spills perhaps more than the current students.

The spirit of the former students was such that one came away with the impression that they had lost none of their enthusiasm for sport nor had they lost the anxiety for the fierce rivalry that existed when they were students at the GHS.

The eagerness to participate, the determination in competition, the delight at the conclusion of individual events and the exuberance displayed when the overall results were announced captured the quintessential elements of an institution that has truly impacted the lives of those who passed through it for the last century.

Sport has tremendous powers and all of this came forth at both the Netball competition but infinitely more so at the Athletics where everyone had the opportunity to be a part and wanted to be involved in some event to contribute even the participation point.

Indeed, the spirit of the GHS centenary celebrations was perhaps best displayed in the first Athletics event at Victoria Park, the 800m Walk. This event featured what is undoubtedly the single largest participation in a track event in this country’s history with over 110 participants from the four houses – Grimble, Headmistress, Moffett and Staff – and from all age categories; a tremendous show of unity, commitment, sharing and participation.

 

Conclusion

The Girls’ High School has been able to conceive, plan and execute a full year of celebratory activities that has brought virtually all former students together on all new media – face book, twitter and the internet – as well as back home to join in the excitement at one point or another.

The performance of the Girls High School in terms of its full year of celebrations of its centenary serves to highlight the fact that our Vincentian women have come of age and have the capacity to lead.

The celebrations have themselves been evidence of the very capabilities of just one segment of Vincentian women but speaks volumes of the vast potential of all of our women moving forward.

The centenary celebrations of the Girls’ High School was a remarkable success story deserving only of the very highest commendation.

Attaining 100 years of existence is an amazing feat for any institution.

Achieving 100 years as one of the premier educational institutions in a country like St Vincent and the Grenadines is remarkable.

To achieve 100 years as the country’s premier educational institution for girls is awesome; purely wonderful. Indeed one may very well run short of superlatives deemed appropriate to this tremendous achievement.

The Girls High School (GHS) is the second educational institution in St Vincent and the Grenadines to attain the landmark 100 years of existence and yeoman service to this country in terms of their contribution to genuine national development.

 

Female advancement

In a paper presented to the Methodist fraternity at the Kingstown Methodist Church on the evening of 10 June 1999, I stated,

Women’s liberation was once perceived by men too dim-witted to see further than their own egos, to be something that has to do with the burning of bras and of women wanting to be like men. We have all learnt that women’s liberation is much more than that.

Women’s liberation has translated into the empowerment of women to a point that men never would have thought possible. Women have developed tremendous confidence in themselves as whole persons and in their abilities to develop themselves at virtually every field of endeavour.

It is not a case of doing like the men. It is a case of doing the best that one can. It is a case of being the best that one can be.

The process of women’s liberation has not escaped the Caribbean women.

…Women seized the opportunities afforded by successive liberal governmental regimes and rose to new heights.

Success breeds success and women are prime examples of this. The educational achievements of our women have opened up new vistas, and like their counterparts across the world they have been able to challenge the modernist offerings of meritocratic principles and universalistic criteria as the primary considerations for advancement.

The achievements of our women in other parts of the world have steeled our Caribbean women to fight even harder for their rightful place in every aspect of society, not the least of these being the family.

It is one of the hallmarks of educational development around the world over the past several decades that women and girls have come to outperform men and boys at every level of the education system.

The growth and development of women in the field of educational achievement has created a most embarrassing situation for men globally. Fear of what may result has prompted many studies, not the least important of which is Errol Miller’s scholarly document, Men At Risk.

In the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines it is well known that girls outnumber boys at all educational institutions except, perhaps, at the Primary School level.

While men are prone to deny what is happening before their eyes it should be noted that boys in St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to drop out of school much earlier than their female counterparts. Our boys and young men are more likely to turn to truancy, deviance and crime than girls and at a much earlier age.

Police records here reveal that boys and men dominate the criminal statistics.

Evidence from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment shows that boys and men are more likely to end up in the mental home as a result of a range of causal factors not the least of which is the use of prohibited drugs.

There was no surprise therefore that when the time came in 2008 for the St Vincent Boys Grammar School to celebrate its 100th anniversary, this country found it very low-keyed. This seemed consistent with local and global trends addressed above.

Indeed, there are not many Vincentians who can today recall any of the activities held in celebration of the achievements of what should otherwise have been considered a most noble institution and one that has produced significant achievers who have attained remarkable success in every field of endeavour at home and abroad.

Grammar School students are everywhere in the world and one would have expected that the celebration of the achievement of 100 years of service to this country would have been met with tremendous fanfare and a fantastic gathering of minds to fashion activities that would have been as memorable as the 100 years themselves. Instead, St Vincent and the Grenadines was treated to one of the most lack lustre observances of any such achievement in the world.

 

Centenary programme

In stark contrast the observance of the 100th anniversary of the Girls’ High School went for an entire year with a huge list of activities that began with the impressive island-wide relay from both extremities of St Vincent. Attempts were also made to involve the Grenadines. For an entire year St Vincent and the Grenadines was treated to a monthly lecture delivered by a past student who has excelled in one field of endeavour or another, showcasing the tremendous reach of the institution across the globe.

The Girls High School Centenary celebrations was led by a Committee of individuals who worked indefatigably to ensure that the planned activities came off.

That is not to say that every activity was successful. That was certainly not the case. But the fact is that all planned activities were worked at and eventually came off.

There was the Logo and Banner Competitions both of which were won by a current teacher, Jodi Dennie.

There was also the Mother-Daughter Pageant.

The final Week of Activities, 30 April through to 8 May 2011, began with the Netball Festival at Arnos Vale on Saturday.

The following day, 1 May 2011, witnessed the Grand Tea Party on the school grounds that defied even the weather, so large was the attendance. The lighting of the compound in glittering blue and white, the colours of the institution, and the official launching of the Centenary Magazine were key highlights of the Tea Party.

On Tuesday 3 May there was the March from the school to the Victoria Park where the Sports Day was supposed to be held.

On 4 and 5 May there were the Career Days fittingly titled, 100 Years 100 Careers. And the GHS Arts and Craft Exhibition.
The final Centenary Lecture was held on Thursday 5 May with a Gala Awards Dinner on Friday 6 May. Saturday 7 May, witnessed the Blue and White Affair at the Victoria Park with an official countdown to midnight and the ushering in of the 100th anniversary day, 8 May 2011, with great fanfare culminating with a fireworks display. Sunday 8 May featured the ultimate celebration, the Ecumenical Service, the expression of sincere gratitude to the one who made it all possible, Almighty God.

 

Sport in the celebrations

There were two sporting activities during the year. The first was the Netball competition that took place at Arnos Vale while the second was the Athletics at Victoria Park. On both occasions it was truly exciting to see the eagerness of the former students as they sought to compete in almost every event.

The Netball was keenly contested with the ladies defying their ages as they showed the current students that they have lost nothing by way of their love for sport.

Athletics was contested in the Under 15, 15 – 20, 21 – 35, 36 – 50, 50 – 60 and Over 60 age categories.

At the Victoria Park, where the weather conditions were significantly less than ideal, the competition was great. Despite the difficulty experience in trying to keep one’s footing in a wet field and with spills all around regardless of age, the participants stuck to the task of making the activity a most memorable one.

While the young, current students at times appeared too timid to participate under such conditions the former students kept asking for more. The 35 – 40 age group, for example, insisted that they be allowed to have the 200m and the 4 x 50m relay even though these were not programmed for that category.

The over 60 age group participated in full in every event that was conducted on the day, including the three-legged, the sack, lime and spoon and needle and thread races. The ran all of the sprint events as well and enjoyed the spills perhaps more than the current students.

The spirit of the former students was such that one came away with the impression that they had lost none of their enthusiasm for sport nor had they lost the anxiety for the fierce rivalry that existed when they were students at the GHS.

The eagerness to participate, the determination in competition, the delight at the conclusion of individual events and the exuberance displayed when the overall results were announced captured the quintessential elements of an institution that has truly impacted the lives of those who passed through it for the last century.

Sport has tremendous powers and all of this came forth at both the Netball competition but infinitely more so at the Athletics where everyone had the opportunity to be a part and wanted to be involved in some event to contribute even the participation point.

Indeed, the spirit of the GHS centenary celebrations was perhaps best displayed in the first Athletics event at Victoria Park, the 800m Walk. This event featured what is undoubtedly the single largest participation in a track event in this country’s history with over 110 participants from the four houses – Grimble, Headmistress, Moffett and Staff – and from all age categories; a tremendous show of unity, commitment, sharing and participation.

 

Conclusion

The Girls’ High School has been able to conceive, plan and execute a full year of celebratory activities that has brought virtually all former students together on all new media – face book, twitter and the internet – as well as back home to join in the excitement at one point or another.

The performance of the Girls High School in terms of its full year of celebrations of its centenary serves to highlight the fact that our Vincentian women have come of age and have the capacity to lead.

The celebrations have themselves been evidence of the very capabilities of just one segment of Vincentian women but speaks volumes of the vast potential of all of our women moving forward.

The centenary celebrations of the Girls’ High School was a remarkable success story deserving only of the very highest commendation.

 

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