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posted 17 Oct 2012, 09:46 by Gerry Kangalee

5523 13th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

August 6th, 2012

The Most Reverend Joseph Harris
Archbishop of Trinidad and Tobago
27 Maraval Rd
Port of Spain

Dear Reverend:
Archbishop, my name is Helen Weekes and I am former teacher at St. Martin’s Girls School located at #59 Belle Eau Road, Belmont.  I was appalled to hear that the powers that be are planning to close the school to facilitate a boy school.  Sr. Luke Selkridge (deceased) was my aunt and she worked hard to get the school to where it is now. She is probably ‘turning in her grave’ at this decision.

Sr. Luke was associated with St. Martins for at least 40 yrs; it was her baby. I think that when she was suddenly taken away from the school, it led to her rapid demise.  She loved teaching and loved the school.  I think that the situation could have been handled differently.  I think she grieved at not being able to be at the school.

However, the school will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and many of the past students were planning a celebration.  Many of the former students who were members of the choir happily reminisce of their trips abroad visiting such places as Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Venice, Belgium, England, Australia and also other Caribbean islands like St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada.
 How was this possible?  Through fund raising events and a little help from the then Minister of Cultural events, Mr. Cuthbert Joseph. Why can’t those wanting to replace St. Martins, an already established school, with a boy’s school be innovative and implement fund raising events like Sr. Luke did when she was principal?

I think it quite unfair to the parents of the young girls who attend and those who wish to attend St. Martins, a good Catholic school, to hear that the school is being closed.  The situation in some of the Public Schools is out of control.  In some cases, pupils have been caught having sex with each other in classrooms. Many concerned parents find that the best option for their daughters is at St. Martins.

I find it very unethical that Sr. Mary Olivia was not included in the decision making and certain members were told to not mention anything to her.  I would think that as members of the “cloth” honesty would be first and foremost in this situation.  I think St Martins should be the concern of the principal and teachers, and not a priest who has never in any way contributed to the existence of the school.

Although I reside in the United States, other former teachers and past students who also live abroad share a bond with St. Martins School especially since Sr.  Luke is no longer around and we HOPE that you would reconsider the situation of St. Martins school and also the plight of the teachers, many of whom have been at the school for a number of years. We also hope that the Ministry of Education will be allowed to continue sending students to the school thereby making it once more an operative, fulfilling Catholic Girl’s School.

We look forward to a favourable outcome.


Helen Weekes