Mr. Thomas Bolougne, Proud Recipient of St. Lucia Medal of Merit and Congrats on his Retirement

DSC05619As Saint Lucia celebrates National Day, Mags Magazine and Gems of Saint Lucia would like to recognize Mr. Thomas Boulogne for his contribution to education and to congratulate him on his retirement from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College where he served for over 40 years!  On March 1st 2015 he was awarded the Saint Lucia Medal of Merit, Gold for four decades of outstanding and dedicated service in the Teaching Service and in Trade Union and Credit Cooperative Movements.

Mr.Thomas Boulogne, also known as Gabriel, hails from the village of Laborie. He began teaching at the Laborie Boys ‘ Primary School where he taught for a year as an Assistant Teacher and then moved into the construction industry while at the same time pursued a certificate in Carpentry and Joinery at the Morne Fortune Technical College. After four years as a craftsman and foreman he returned to the teaching service as an Assistant Lecturer in Carpentry and Joinery at the Morne Fortune Technical College. During that same period he pursued studies leading to a Building Technician Diploma at the College, thus having the rare distinction of being both a tutor and a student at the Graduation Ceremony of the College for that academic year.

Mr. Thomas Boulogne is a very serious, dedicated and hardworking individual who has given at least forty years of service to St. Lucia in the field of education and community service. He maintained a very high level of discipline throughout his education and working career. As a result, he was a top student throughout his education and training programmers both locally and internationally. Among his achievements are: top student of the initial training programme pursued at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the various training programmers pursued in the UK, a recipient of a prize as student of the year for construction while attending the Vauxhall College of Further Education and Building in London and a diploma of merit and first prize in the senior class Central Section judging of a Carpenters Craft Competition organized by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters and the Incorporated British Institute of Certified Carpenters.

Mr. Boulogne is the holder of many academic and professional qualifications including; Master of Education Degree(M.Ed) in Management and Vocational Education, Postgraduate Diploma(PgDip)Management and Vocational Education, Diploma in Professional Studies in Education(DPSE), Licentiate of City and Guilds(LCG), Technical Teachers Diploma. He was also the recipient of more than one scholarship awarded by the government of St.Lucia and the British Government in order to pursue his studies, for which he is most grateful.

Mr. Boulogne has provided quality tertiary education and training to individuals both locally and regionally at what is now the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, serving as; Tutor and Coordinator to students in various programmers e.g OECS Technical Teachers’ Training programme, Staff Student Liaison Officer and Sports Coordinator for the Division of Technical Education and Management Studies (DTEMS),Head of Building Studies Department, Senior Lecturer, Dean of DTEMS, Acting Vice-Principal and Acting Principal.

He has a passion for Technical Vocational Education and Training and played a significant role in helping to remove the stigma that is sometimes associated with TVET. He provided quality leadership in that sub-sector and helped attract significant resources to the College in order to enhance the delivery of TVET programmers and courses. Under his leadership there was a significant increase in the number of students who accessed programmes and courses at the Division of Technical Education and Management Studies. Many more institutions of further and higher education, locally, regionally and internationally also accepted graduates of the Division to pursue higher education and training.

Outside the College, Mr. Boulogne provided leadership in the development and provision of TVET in St. Lucia. He served for four years as the first President of the St. Lucia Technical Vocational Educators’ Association. From 2009 to 2015 he was Deputy Chairman of the St Lucia TVET Council and from 2012 to 2015 he served as a member of the OECS Tourism and Hospitality Education and Training Task Force.

He is an active member of the St. Lucia Teachers ‘ Union ,serving as chairman of the SLTU Elections Commission from 2002 to date and is a founding member of the St. Lucia Teachers’ Credit Cooperative established in 1984 at which he served on various committees as well as Vice-President and President.


Mr. Boulogne is married to Angela Boulogne who is also the mother of three of his four sons. (Picture above shows Mrs. Boulogne and two of his sons, Asim Boulogne and Dyllan Boulogne.)

I am very proud of Mr. Boulogne! As a brother in law, he has been a great mentor, a remarkable listener and an amazing role model. The family wishes him the best in the future!

Today, we also recognize the contribution which Mrs. Peternise Stephens has made towards education. Other Saint Lucians who have been featured on my blog include:

Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose a pioneer in the study of natural herbal medicine.

Mrs. Magdalena Louis a retired school principal from Augier, Laborie

Hedwick Holder, Jaimanne Leopold and Tarrah Mauricette who have teamed together to create an amazing group called Chalè in Ottawa. Chalè is a creole word meaning heat, derived from our St. Lucian creole background

Our initiative to support families who were affected by the flooding in Saint Lucia in 2014.




Imagine 3 complimentary nights at “Villa Isis” in Saint Lucia for US$10. A deal you cannot miss!

Today, my blog has reached 15,000 views over 89 countries.  To each of my readers, I want to say “Thank You” for your love, support and encouragement. To those of you who have taken time off to write and comment on articles, know that each of  your comments were read and appreciated.  Blogging has been therapeutic for me although in my newest adventure with I have not been able to write much – but do look out for some exciting stuff soon!

Gems has an offer going on now, which I want to share with all my viewers because this may very well be your opportunity to visit our beautiful island of Saint Lucia and stay for 3 complimentary nights in lovely Villa Isis, which is located in of my very favourite spot in Saint Lucia – Marigot Bay! This is an opportunity for you, in whatever part of the world you are, to support our promotional drive for this amazing site.

Every once in a while, we have an urge to get away from our usual surroundings to an environment which will allow us to do the same things but with an added touch of comfort, simplicity or charm.  If it is your desire to get away, Villa Isis, located in one of Saint Lucia’s most touristic spots, may be your answer to experiencing a home away from home.

Villa Isis outside

The Directors at Gems of Saint Lucia are excited to welcome Villa Isis as its first “Gems Comfort” since its launch in Ottawa, Canada, on April 24, 2014. Villa Isis fits the definition of a “Gem” as a result of it being owned by a St. Lucian national. In addition, Villa Isis brings diversification to the “Gems” products which have focused on Cultural and Heritage Sites, ground transportation provided by Southern Taxi Association and hospitality at the Rex St. Lucian. The  membership deal is for one year.

Gems of Saint Lucia is offering our friends and friends of Gems a great opportunity to experience Vila Isis for three complimentary nights.…exciting…for US$10.00 only, you stand a chance of winning 3 complimentary room nights at Villa Isis…you will be contributing to the success of an entrepreneur who has the passion for hospitality.  Click in this link to purchase your chance to WIN:!destinations/cjg9

Succinctly nestled within the hilltop of Marigot Bay on ½ an acre of prime land, the paranomic scenes are awe-inspiring and breath-taking, with lush greenery and tropical fruit trees all around. With spacious surroundings and rooms, a Jacuzzi in the master suite, cable TV and internet access, Villa Isis is an ideal vacation spot for a single person or a family or the professional who wants to get away for a few days.

Villa isis overlooking trees




For the traveler who is mindful of a healthy lifestyle, ‘Villa Isis’ continues to accommodate your every wish by providing a complete gym, equipped with the latest technology in cardio.  Did someone say swimming?  Yes!  Get your hair wet, wade or plunge into the diamond shaped 16 X 10 foot pool.

TuneIn and StepUp to taking a chance on winning your three night complimentary visit.

Visit us at





Meet the Director of Operations of Gems of Saint Lucia


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I love the endless synchronicities and magical things that happen to me in my life – most of them completely unplanned but somehow turns out perfectly.  One of those unplanned “things” was becoming the Director of Operations of Gems of Saint Lucia which has officially expanded  it’s services to Canada.  You can read more about Gems of Saint Lucia at

How did this all happen?  I did not apply for the job. In fact I had no idea that this company existed until last August when I went to New York to spend a weekend with my dear  girlfriend Margot, who travelled from England to meet me.  Along this journey, I met with the CEO of Gems of Saint Lucia, Wilson Jn Baptiste, through an initial Facebook connection. From the very first meeting, I realized that we had some common interests in Saint Lucia (our homeland) and since then we have both been talking non-stop about how we can support the socio-economic development of Saint Lucia through tourism.

A few weeks ago, he made an official offer for me to join his company and to assume the role of Director of Operations.  I asked him why he chose me for that particular role.  His response was:

” You make things happen.  Gems needs someone who is committed, loyal and trusted in the implementation of the concept.  It is a new and innovative concept which require a person like yourself to bring in new energy, interpersonal respect, and sincere support for ensuring the success of Gems of Saint Lucia and the grassroots people of Saint Lucia through tourism.”

Over the last few years of living in Canada, I have searched for ways to make a more visible and sustainable contribution to the development of Saint Lucia. When I understood the Gems concept, I felt completely in alignment with it.  Through the  concept of “Marketing is everybody’s business”, I realized that everyone (Saint Lucians and  friends of Saint Lucia)  can easily play a role in the marketing of Saint Lucia – not only for sea, sand and sun but to expose our visitors from across the world to the rich cultural and heritage sites of Saint Lucia.  This in turn will have great economic benefits to the indigenous people on the island who own and operate cultural and heritage sites and products.

Wilson’s life journey in establishing himself as a professional in the tourism industry is an inspiration.  With 2 decades of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Tourism Administration and a Master’s degree in Tourism Management, from New York University, and a hard core entrepreneur with a brilliant mind and extraordinary ideas,  I have no reservations that his vision for Gems of Saint Lucia will be a success.  In fact he has been a true mentor to me in this new business venture.

My role as Director of Operations went into full force in April 2014. This role involves creating a smooth integration of Gems products and services to the public which encompasses support services such as IT, HR and finance as well as logistics, communications and working with the CEO to develop long term strategies for sustainability.

Our first order of business was to re-brand the company, develop a website and communication material for the public. Within a month of working quite intensely on this project, we  successfully launched Gems of Saint Lucia to the Canadian Public.   The concept was completely embraced by our network and we had a great official launch of the company on April 24th, 2014.  Please see press release here.!blog/ctvq


(Part of the audience at the launch – toasting to Gems of Saint Lucia)

Our invited guests were all amazing and represented 30 countries from across the world.


What I have learnt from this experience is that by keeping an open mind, communicating effectively, being in alignment with a vision and pushing my boundaries, I  have once again, used my talents and strengths to expand myself… and in the process created new possibilities for supporting Saint Lucia.


(Kevin Carroll, Managing Director of Innovation, Invest Ottawa with the CEO of Gems, Wilson Jn Baptise)

I would like to invite you to join me on this amazing adventure.  This blog reaches 82 countries across the world.  As you read,  from whatever part of the world you are, I want you to imagine the possibilities of visiting Saint Lucia and perhaps joining us on a Gemscapade ( A special trip planned to meet professionals from across the world) . You can show your support by liking our Facebook page and keeping in contact with us for future Gems opportunities.  You can also share this blog.

TuneIn to the many talents you have. StepUp and showcase them to the world so that others can know what you are capable of. It is not all written on a resume.  Networking and being able to effectively communicate your interest and passion to others are very often the key to accessing hidden opportunities.











Congratulations to the St. Lucia Ottawa Association for a GREAT Independence Day Celebration!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations, I have been on a mission to feature 10 St. Lucians who are making a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Well…. there are so many St. Lucians across the globe contributing the world economy, that it became hard to keep up so I decided to feature the amazing executive of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association!

Congratulations to the St. Lucia Ottawa Association for hosting a great 35th Independence Anniversary Celebration in Ottawa on February 22nd 2014.  Although the executive of the Association is quite small, you can barely find a group more dedicated to the mission of promoting St. Lucia and St. Lucians in Ottawa. Best of all they do it with class!  Below is the picture of the Executive, with Mr. Michael Willius (far right), the Consulate General of St. Lucia, based in Toronto. At the far left, we have the vice president, Ms. Noella Charles, the president, Mr. Raymond Peterkin, the entertainment chair, Ms. Natalie Peterkin, the secretary, Ms. Yvette Lubrun; floor member, Leibert Francis; Helen Glasgow, treasurer and we are missing Gisettle Jean Baptiste who is the chair of the youth and diaspora committee.


The event was held at the classy location of the Westin Hotel with the aim of celebrating both St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Anniversary and also to raise  funds to help the relief efforts in St. Lucia after the damaging trough on December 24th, 2013.  The theme was “Embracing All Generations for Community Action” and it was inspiring to see the participation of St. Lucians and friends of St. Lucians across the generations. Messages were sent to congratulate the St. Lucia Ottawa Association from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Honorable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony and  Jim Watson, the Mayor of the City of Ottawa.  The President of the Association called us to reflect on our achievements as a small island state.

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“Thousands of our island’s sons and daughters who have migrated across the globe and who are now making our world a better place, were nurtured and educated in St. Lucia. Truly, it is remarkable that we could achieve so much with so little.  As we move forward and take our place in our new home, Canada, we should never forget our culture of caring, sharing, respect for the elderly and the friendships that bonded us together.”  Raymond Peterkin

One of the keynote speakers was a young man, Raymond Peterkin Junior, a distinguished scholar who holds a B.A.Sc in Computer Engineering, a Master’s of Applied Science and a PhD, has published numerous technical articles, has worked as a part-time professor and is working as a software engineer for Larus Technologies. He delivered a thought-provoking speech on “Giving Back and Community Building” where he challenged St. Lucians in Ottawa to think more deeply about how we use our talent, cultural roots in food and culture to create wealth, and leverage our resources within  the community.  As a young St. Lucian, he shows success and role models the value of education.

The Consulate General, Mr. Michael Willius, congratulated the Association on their efforts towards relief efforts in St. Lucia and provided an explanation on how funds and assistance is distributed on the island during such disastrous times.


The Executive of the St. Lucia Ottawa Association extended heartfelt thanks to several members of the community who  have made an exceptional contribution to the association and the St. Lucian Community over the years.  Awards were presented to St. Lucians who have provided countess hours of voluntary help to the community.

(Leibert Francis below with president, Raymond Peterkin)

Awards- Libert

(Berdeena Charles, Victoria Charles below)


(Natalie Peterkin below)

Award - Nathalie

(Berdeena Charles below)


Another outstanding community member, James John received an award but we don’t have a photo.

Toni Francis was the MC that night. She contributes her MCing skills to host several of the St. Lucia Association Events in Ottawa.


Wilson Jn. Baptiste, the CEO of Gems of St. Lucia (left below) came in from New York for the event and  presented a prize for 3 nights stay at the REX St. Lucian.  This was won by Eunice Charles who is looking forward to enjoying those three nights! Gems of St. Lucia has previously received support from the St. Lucia Ottawa Association to run a Soccer Clinic in St. Lucia. Community support was great – The St. Lucia Tourist Board donated prizes along with other businesses and there was even a 50/50 draw and raffle prizes.

(Wilson Jn. Baptiste, left below)

Mags and Wilson 2

(Eunice Charles, left below, won the 3 nights stay at the REX St. Lucian)

Raymond and Eunice

The event culminated with a night of dancing – Hypnotic Sounds carried the crowd off with music that could not keep us off the dance floor.  Here are some pictures to enjoy!  Great work St. Lucia Ottawa Association!  You keep the light shining in us for St. Lucia.


(Chad Henry and Wilson Jn. Baptise below)

Chad and Wilson

(Dawn Maxwell below, one of the young volunteers selling raffle tickets)

Dawn selling raffle tickets

(Renditions by Viviane Simon, Victor Antoine and Berlayne Smith below)


Willius, wife, lady in red

Here are some stories of more inspiring St. Lucians!

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

I will update this blog later about the results of the fundraising efforts.

Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!

Experience One of Those Unforgettable All-Inclusive St Lucia Vacations by booking at the REX St. Lucian Hotel.



Kudoos to this lovely St. Lucian couple for getting our young athletes to compete on the national and international stage!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making  a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Meet Martial and Martina Charlery, two ordinary people doing extraordinary work in lives of young people in St. Lucia.

Martina and Martial

They formed the Rockets Athletic Club in November 2004 as a result of requests made the by parents of the Camille Henry Memorial School, who felt that  Martial Charlery had made a significant contribution towards the training and development of the track and field athletes at the school and felt that he should continue to work with them. Never did they  think that Rockets would be what it is today!

(Athlete Nevin Kester Brian below is from Vieux fort he won the Victor Ludorum in district 6 in the under 13. He dominated at his school sports winning gold medals in all his events.)

Nevin Kester Bryan

The club can boast of having won regional and international  medals: 21 medals in Trinidad and Tobago at the Western Springfield Championships in 2007, international medals, in  2008 our primary athletes (ages 8 and under) won a team bronze in the 4 x 100 meter event, in 2010,Kamillah Monroque, won a bronze in the 800 meter, in 2012 she won a gold in the 3000 meters, and a bronze in the 1500 meter event. She also received an ESPN rising star medal. Shaquille Greenidge represented Saint Lucia at the Windward Island Games in 2013.Janille Greenidge in 2013 represented Saint Lucia at the World Youth Games in the Ukraine. And Beverly Ann Hippolyte has been shortlisted to represent st.Lucia at the Youth Olympics in China later this year.

(Janille Greenridge represented St. Lucia at the World Youth Games in the Ukraine)

Janille Greenidge


(Above, in the middle is  Kamillah Monroques  who won gold in Orlando Florida)

The club is focused on the holistic development of every member, inclusive of the parents. Workshops are conducted not only for the athletes, but the parents as well. There are a number of social activities, (such as, trips, family day, island tours, etc) that are organized in an an effort to encourage the bonding, improving of social skills while the children develop their athletic ability. It is a family oriented club.  On top of that,  the team supports community based activities, and contributes  by making donations to the children’s home, the hurricane and flood victims, provide technical assistance to the schools in districts one and two.  They raise most of their funding through Barbeques, cake sales, raffles, talent shows etc.

Rockets Athletic Club - dabetes campaign

Attached to the club is a counselor, who conducts workshops, with the athletes and parents and provides counseling services once recommended by the Management Team or requested by a parent or athlete.

All the athletes have excelled at the school level in track and field, holding titles and records at that level. In February of  2013, Rockets hosted and conducted a Track and Field Development Clinic with three international Coaches namely: Peter Thompson IAAF consultant, Matt Lydum USATF Coach and Author, Dave Shrock USATF Coach and Lecturer. Teachers, athletes and coaches from across the island were invited to be part of this clinic.


Both Martina and Martial finds working with young athletes very rewarding and would like to expand their services to build a home for Rockets with a conference room to conduct all training workshops and activities for parents and athletes, an office for the counselor, and a 200 meter track for training, and hosting of clinics and camps.  They believe that the Rockets Athletic club provides the youth with a safe place to exert energy, and be positively engaged. It allows them to learn, develop skills and identify talents within themselves.



TuneIn today to embrace those wonderful people who StepUp to contribute to our young people. StepUp to support  them in reaching their goals.

You can contact Rockets Athetic Club at

Here are some stories of more inspiring St. Lucians!

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!



Want lovely skin, free from blemishes? Meet St. Lucian born, Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, a pioneer in the study of natural herbal medicines.

Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose 

Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, A St. Lucian Who Inspires Others

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making (or have made) a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others.  Meet Saint Lucian born, Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, is a source of inspiration, for women, in particular. She is the owner of Eden Herbs and a pioneer in the study of natural herbal medicines. She rebranded her company and its products and will be launching her new brand, with a soft launch for Saint Lucia’s 35th independence anniversary and an official launch in April 2014. Eden Herbs sprouted from the Caribbean’s healthy tradition in natural herbal remedies to blossom into a unique service of health and beauty enhancement … naturally. This re-branding strategy is aimed at increasing its market share in North America.

Dr. St. Rose is passionate about herbal medicine which she describes as exciting, because there are so many health benefits and the line of products has something to offer to everyone. She believes that a healthy person is essentially beautiful, in a state of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing which is manifested through lovely skin – skin free from blemishes, spots, pimples, and rashes. The countenance or expression is the result of an inner peace, which is possible when one is at peace with oneself, God and their fellow human being. The positive mental attitude, which overcomes or accepts difficulties in faith and hope, is another important ingredient for this inner peace. Eden Herbs, strive to enhance your health and beauty, by using completely natural products in agreement with your body and mind.

“Our motivation is to restore a patient to the maximum possible state of personal well-being. Herbal remedies do not have the aggressive and invasive action of modern drugs. Instead, they provide the necessary trace elements, vitamins and medicinal substances in a harmonious whole, so as to return you to full health” Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose

Dr. St. Rose practices Integrative Medicine privately in Vieux Fort and is the Chief Executive of herbal manufacturing and distribution enterprise – EDEN HERBS. Dr. St. Rose is also the past president of Caribbean Association of Researchers and Herbal Practitioners [CARAPA] and president of Caribbean Association for Plant Science, Industry, Commerce and Use in Medicine. [CAPSICUM]. Dr. St. Rose is the holder of a Diploma in Phytotherapy, from the College of Phytotherapy [Herbal Medicine] – Sussex, England,  a Diploma in Practical Dermatology from the University of Wales School of Medicine, General Practice Training at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, [Commonwealth Scholar award], Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery[{M.B.;B.S.] – University of the West Indies, Distinction in Anatomy, Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] award, based on the UWI open scholarship examinations. Finally, Dr. St. Rose is the past president Rotary club St Lucia South.

Dr. St. Rose continues to serve her island, Saint  Lucia, in the area of Integrative Medicine and also as an entrepreneur. She is also very active in her community by demonstrating social responsibility through voluntary organizations like Rotary Club, St. Lucia South. As St. Lucia prepares to celebrate its 35th independent anniversary, Dr. St. Rose stands out as a pioneer in her field, a mother of four and a corporate citizen.

Visit Eden Herbs:

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TuneIn today to all the people who have been instrumental in shaping your life!  StepUp to express  gratitude to them and let them know how they inspired your life.

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more:

This week we have recognized four other St. Lucians  who inspire others through their lives.

Read more here:

Chale - group of three

Mrs. Louis

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone whom you think is truly inspiring!



Recognizing Mrs. Ruth Magdalena Louis, a retired St. Lucian School Principal who saved me and inspired my life and the lives of many others!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making (or have made) a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Today, I would like to recognize Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis, whom most of us know as Ms. Brett, who was the principal of the Augier Combined School from 1970 – 1979. She in now 76 and I feel blessed that she is still with us and I can say thank you to her for the great impact which she had on my life as a little girl of 3 years old and which until today, she has no idea about!

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  Your gentleness, sweetness and empathy for me and others, left an imprint on my life, which I use every day to further help others.  By breaking the ‘rules’ you saved me.”

( Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis below embracing her daughter Kay at Kay’s Graduation as a lawyer.)

Mrs. Louis

Here is my recollection of what happened.

My earliest memory of myself  is about 3 and a half years old and it is still quite vivid. My mom had six of us and I was the 4th girl.  Every morning she walked the three older girls to the Augier Combined School where they all attended school.  I was too young to go to school so she would carry me on her hips back to our house which was about  20 minutes away.  Every morning, we went through the same drama – she would let the older girls go the school yard and I would start my yelling and screaming, “I want to go to school too!”  One day, she lost all patience with me.  In my screaming match at the house, she hitched me back on her hips and walked back down the road shouting, “You want to go to school… I will take you to school.” Of course, I got a few spanks along the way too.

And that was the day, I met Ms. Ruth, Magdalene Louis, whom we knew as Ms. Brett.  My exasperated mother went to her office (with a dishevelled me) and bluntly said, “Do you have space for this child?  Every day she cries that she wants to go to school. I don’t know what to do with her!” 

It was the gentleness in Ms. Brett’s eyes I will never forget.  She looked at me in the sweetest way and said, “You want to go to school my child?”  It was the look that said, “Poor child, I need to save you and save your mother too!”

I nodded “yes.”

Now, I think that my mother’s plan was get me to hear Ms. Brett say that she could not accept me because I was too young to be accepted at the school and the morning drama would stop.  Surprisingly, Ms. Brett told my mother to leave me with her that day and she would find a space for me. (On  that day, I learnt that rules could be broken because my mother told me all along that the school would not accept me because I was not 5 years old yet.)

That was the first time Ms. Brett saved me.  She saved me from staying home with my mother!  She placed  me in Stage1 and I remember overhearing her conversation with the teacher. “Just keep her in your class because she is too young for us to register her.” 

I loved Ms. Brett because she was so sweet and kind to me.  She looked out for me because I suppose she knew that I was just a baby really.  There were two situations where she intervened and I will never forget them because to a larger extent it  inculcated in me a deeper sense of empathy towards the vulnerable, simply because she stood up for me.

The first instance was being in that Stage 1 class.  The teacher was not at all pleasant to me.  Maybe she did not like me because I was not supposed to be in school.  Every single day, she would beat me on my head with an open Math book.  It would start out with her calling out the name of each student and  would hand them their Math book.  She would deliberately ignore me when my hand went up and then after handing out all the books except mine, she would say, “Why didn’t you raise your hand?” and before even hearing my answer, she would beat me with the my Math book on my head. I hated that math period.  I hated being beaten and I felt powerless.

One day  Ms. Bret walked into the class just when the teacher was about to hit me. I heard her voice say, “Why didn’t you give her the Math book? She raised her hand.”  From that day on, the beating stopped but this created a lifelong trauma for me with Mathematics and with that teacher.  That was the second time Ms. Brett saved me!

Since I was not an “officially registered” student, by the time I was ready to move to the next grade, she placed me in Stage 2B.  Back then the classes were graded A and B, with the “bright students” going to A and the “not too bright” one going to the B class.  The Stage 2B teacher was sweet and loved me.   Her name was Ms. Edith. I loved being in her class and I won all the prizes for spelling and daily quizzes.  By the time that year was over, I had figured out the “A” and “B” system and I knew that I did not belong to a “B” class.

The following school year, I was determined to go to Stage 3B but didn’t know how to do it. One morning, it dawned on me that maybe all I needed to do was just simply go to the Stage 3A line… and I did just that!  That morning, my move caused a huge commotion in the school yard.  The students in the Stage 3B line started shouting, “Magdalene, come back to your line,” and the students in the Stage 3A line were yelling, “Magdalene, this is NOT your class… go back to your line!”  I remained rooted with my little bag on the Stage 3A line.

That was the 3rd time Ms. Brett saved me.  She came over and said, “Why are you not on your line?” Again, in her  gentle, sweet voice.

“I want to go to Stage 3A,” I answered.

“O.k. You go there only for the morning, but in the afternoon you will have to go back to your class.”  She said a bit more firmly.

The students were all shocked but I felt  elated that I could go to the “A” class.  She spoke to the teacher.  That very day, I got a beating from the  Stage 3A teacher because I could not spell the word “umbrella” which we had not learnt yet in  Stage 3B!  Stage 3A was quite  a learning curve for me!

I never went back to Stage 3B.  I remained in Stage 3A.  No one ever told me to go back.  I have no idea what Ms. Brett did but she always smiled at me when she run into me at the school.  I continued my education as an A student.  I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had remained in Stage 3B.

Those examples I have mentioned above may seem to be quite trivial but they were critical in my development as a child. I am grateful to Ms. Brett because as a  head teacher she did not have to break those school rules, but she did to give me a chance and to give my mother a break. She did not have to stop the teacher from beating me – she could have ignored it, but she challenged the teacher and protected me.  She did not have to let me stay in Stage 3A but she never bothered to send me back to Stage 3B.  Most of my life I have worked with vulnerable people – both children and adults.  Often enough I have broken a rule to support someone else to get to his or her goal and I often draw strength  from people like her, who did what they needed to do for  others with humility, integrity and genuine concern.

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  I have never told you this story but I am so glad that I have finally let you and the world know, that you are indeed a beautiful and gentle soul, and I was truly blessed to have you in my life at such a young age.  Thank you!”

(The picture below is of the beautiful family with her husband Watson Louis, amazing children, in-laws and grand children.)

Mrs. Louis with family

Sons and daughters of St. Lucia, love the land that gave us birth….keep on flying high!

As we celebrate 35 years of independence, let us all remember that our greatness is in our service to others!

(My mom and I below – I know about the boobs – it’s o.k. It is my favourite picture with her and that makes the boobs o.k  :))


flag of St. Lucia

TuneIn today to all the people who have been instrumental in shaping your life!  StepUp to express  gratitude to them and let them know how they inspired your life.

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more:

Yesterday, we recognized three St. Lucians in Ottawa who are making waves in using their talent to bring a Caribbean cultural experience to people in Ottawa.  Read more here:

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Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!