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Dorsetshire Hill School Gets A Library

March 31, 2023 – by Dayle Da Silva

The students at the Dorsetshire Hill Government School (DHGS) now have their very own library, compliments a number of agencies and individuals.

Among those responsible for the newest addition to the school are organizations such as ‘Hands Across the Sea’, the Mustique Charitable Foundation, and a former student of the school – Mrs. Ettie Gill-Skeete, 

Dorsetshire Hill School Gets A Library

The contribution made in the name of Ettie Gill-Skeete ensured that proper shelves and other requisites were provided for the library.

A former student’s support 

Horatio Skeete, who now plies between SVG and the USA, explained during a ceremony held on March 27 to mark the official opening of the library, that his mother – Ettie Gill-Skeete, was a student at the school over 70 years ago, and that during one of his trips home he visited the school and overheard a concern being expressed that the only education institution located at Dorsetshire Hill was to be closed.

On his return home that day, he told his mother of what he had overheard. She directed him to seek more information from the officials at the Ministry of Education and on doing so, he found out that the ministry officials had indeed contemplated shutting down the school but after reflection had decided against doing so.

Upon giving his mother the good news, she there and then remarked that the family ought to do something for the school. 

A few days later, she said to her son that she had some money saved up for her funeral, in addition to the EC$5,000 that she was to collect from the Marriaqua Friendly Society (Bunpan), and that he should minimize her funeral expenses and use the remaining amount as a monetary donation to the DHGS.

Gill-Skeete died a few years later and according son Horatio, it was his duty to inform his siblings that their mom had given away any inheritance money, and explained her wishes. They agreed this was a great gesture, and they visited the school where they were told about the library project.

The library project unfolds

The library project had gotten underway as far back as 2019.

Janice Gilkes, Principal, said that former Principal Patricia James was the one who saw the need for a library, and made the initial effort in this regard.

“Mrs. James identified the space and ensured that the building was renovated for this purpose,” Gilkes explained.

She solicited the assistance of ‘Hands Across the Sea’ who secured books through the Mustique Charitable Organization, the principal added.

Even though a space was created to house the library, Gilkes said that when she took over as principal in 2022, she recognized the need for some work to be done to make the area ready to function as the library.

Contributions towards this end were made through persons like Goland Greaves, and the Skeete family, the latter contributing bookshelves, an air conditioning unit, door, windows and burglar bars.

The area, she contended, now offers a quiet space in which students can enjoy reading and was also a space conducive to learning, studying and working on projects, to which the teachers can direct their students. “The importance of a school library could not be over emphasized,” Gilkes said.

The library was also expected to serve as a resource centre for the Remedial Reading Programme in place at the school.