A truly remarkable day, that was how Principal for the Louise Garland Thomas High School in Long Bay, Providenciales, Mrs. Kordell Campbell-Forbes described the reopening of the library at that institution on Wednesday, November 10.
The archive was reopened, thanks to the kind efforts of several institutions and individuals within the community who contributed.
An elated Campbell-Forbes pointed out that a library is a very important part of a high performing school such as the Louise Garland Thomas High, and a place where students can go to learn read and to explore.
She emphasized that students need to know that there are people within the community who are truly investing in their education, and the reopening of the library bears testament to that truth.
“And so, even as they come to school, they come with a bit more gratitude, a bit more kindness, because they truly understand that what’s worth having is what we are investing in. And our children are truly worth having,” she noted.
Unreeling the history of the library in the six-year life of the school, Campbell-Forbes noted: “In 2015, when the school was established, we had a building but there were no books there…it was just a space. And then, a beloved educator, and I am speaking about no other than Mrs. Claudette-Clare (owner and operator of New Age Book Store), reached out to the then principal Mr. (Carlton) Mills, who said we need to have school library.
“And of course, he would put her (Mrs. Clare) in contact with myself, and so, our relationship was rekindled with the then opening of the library in 2016. And then things happened, and our library had to close, and it was such a burden,” she recalled.
She revealed that as steps were being made to reopen the facility, COVID-19 struck, throwing a wrench in the works again.
“…And we were not able to accomplish. But everything begins with a dream, and as principal, I am privileged to be working at a school with a team of hard-working, dedicated people. And Mrs. Melanie Valenzuela-Williams was determined that she would take on the task of getting the library up and running,” the principal pointed out.
She said Valenzuela-Williams was joined by other staff members, who dug in to ensure that the library was restored.
She said service club, Rotary, along with its youth arm, Rotoract, came on board and began purchasing resources needed, including computers. She said also that former government minister Hon. Royal Robinson joined the philanthropic cast, and provided great assistance, also Carl Simmons of Tropical Shipping.
Campbell-Forbes pointed out that Trevor Musgrove, President of the Turks and Caicos Tourism Association (TCHTA), along with Desmond and Pansy Quant, Betty Missick, Nancy Rolle, in addition to others, also played vital roles in the library’s reinstallation.
“This is truly a remarkable day in the history of the Louise Garland Thomas High School. I am so delighted that God saw fit to give me the honor of principal, and as principal, having the pleasure of reopening the school’s library today,” she delightfully beamed.
For her part, Claudette Clare applauded the school for what she described as keeping the dream alive and for recognizing the importance of the library.
She said through the reading of books many persons can exude knowledge of something or a place never been before. She urged the school to continue to encourage its children by placing value in books.
“Let them know that there is value in collaboration, and I talk about our partners in the community,” she said.
Clare told the audience that after making a number of trips to the school, realized that the library was not up and running, and so, contacted Simmons, regarding shipping reading materials for the library from Oxford University Press, McMillian and a few others, who she described as her partners.
Clare, along with her son, Duval, used the opportunity to present several high-profile books at the reopening on behalf of her husband, Bill Clare.
The event was also marked by performances from students and teachers.