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

As Saint Lucia celebrates it’s 36th Independence Anniversary, Mags Magazine and Gems of Saint Lucia would like to congratulate Mr. Thomas Boulogne on his recent retirement from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, where he served College 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.

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.

DSC00445

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.

Love,

Magdalene

 

Memories of Mom Living her Passion.

My tears flowed nonstop as I helped her with the sewing machine and observed the pensive and thoughtful look on her face. I know how much this sewing machine meant to her and I am sure that if she was right here with me, she would tell me that it was her lifeline. Back in 1947, women like my mom did not have the fair advantage to go to school. She was denied an education because she was the eldest child and had to stay home to help her mother with the house work.

IMAG3216“Come and look at the sewing machine with me.” My mom beckoned me to follow her to the dark corner where the old singer sewing machine had been stored for several years since she became blind.

She uncovered the sewing machine.  The cloth over it was a heavy linen which had covered it for decades. She pulled out the small wooden draws on the side and took out a small brush to dust it. She gently pulled it out from the dark corner to the light and then started to test the peddles which seemed to be stuck and made a funny creaking sound.  She found an old bottle of  machine oil, safely tucked inside the drawer and applied it to the various small machine parts while she tested the peddles over and over until it rolled with ease. Her numb hands fumbled with the parts and they dropped from her hands occasionally. She bent her head and strained her eyes as much as she could but she did not stop  until she felt that she had given the sewing machine the proper care and touch which it needed.  It seemed to me that at the end of that experience she looked exhilarated.

IMAG3217

My tears flowed nonstop as I helped her with the sewing machine and observed the pensive and thoughtful look on her face.  I know how much this sewing machine meant to her and I am sure that if she was right here with me, she would tell me that it was her lifeline. Back in 1929, women like my mom did not have the fair advantage to go to school.  She was denied an education because she was the eldest child and had to stay home to help her mother with the house work.  I believe that she must have been about fifteen when she learnt how to sew with one of the top seamstresses from the neighbouring village of Laborie.  To get to her sewing classes, she had to walk almost an hour to and from the class.  She got married about fifteen years as well and her father, who had been physically absent from most of her life,  gave her  the sewing machine – I believe as a wedding gift. She smartly invested her time in mastering the art and developed her small business in sewing tailored made clothing for  the people in the community.  She was one of the few seamstresses in the community.   Many people came to our home with bags of cloth and styles of clothes from catalogues and gave countless instructions to my mom so that she could turn their visions into wearable garments.

Looking back, I can see what a great mom and entrepreneur she was!  She kept everything in balance by waking up early, getting us all ready for school, cooking meals, doing all the house chores and creating the time to live her passion for sewing as well as earning an income. She sewed all of our clothes and uniforms as well as my dad’s pants and shirts and even the undergarments. Just before his death, he showed me some of the pants which she had made for him and which we still wore up to 2012!   All of my three sisters and I learnt how to sew by watching her.  However, she never wanted us to  sew as a means of earning an income. She believed that we could do more than that and ensured that we had the support which we needed to have a good education.

As an adult, I appreciate all what my mom did a million times more now than I did while I was growing up.  She had a lot less to work with – no education, less money, less opportunity, no management training, no marriage counselling, no parenting classes, no brands, no luxuries… but she had courage, faith, vision, great time management skills and knew how to prioritize her time to get things done. She lived her passion for sewing.  I can only imagine the devastation she felt when she became blind and could no longer live her passion.  Yet, she courageously accepted her fate and one of her favourite lines were “It is not my will but if God wills it for my life, I accept. ”

Those photos were taken in 2007 on my first visit to Saint Lucia after migrating to Canada in 2003. She crossed over in 2011.  I will always hold on to those memories and I am glad that I captured those moments with those photos.

Live your future now.  Do what matters to you and don’t wait for perfect circumstances.

Love,

Magdalene