My earliest childhood memory was going to Preschool in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with my two older cousins. My cousins and I were always in the same class, being that we were born the same month of the same year. I still remember our teacher name, Ms. Jill. She was an amazing teacher who loved what she did. I remember she moved to Canada a few years after we left there.
My cousins and I went to school together until Primary School (6th grade), and then you take this test called Common Entrance and base on your grade it determines what high school you go to. I scored higher than my cousins, so I went to a High School in town; while they went to a High School in the village. At first I was thinking about how the three of us won’t be together in school anymore for the first time in 10 years. But I was still excited that another cousin and my best friend (they are cousins also) were going to be in school with me. We also had a friend who was a form ahead of us. Then my best friend grandmother decided she did not want my best friend to go to school in town. I was so disappointed, because like my cousins; we have been in school together since Preschool also.
Education is very important in the Caribbean, because without it; you cannot get a good or decent job. You see your parents and older siblings and/or cousins struggling to make it, and how work they have to work and much much more time they have to put it. Once you are really good at something, you’re encourage to excel in that.
I remember when I moved from Saint Vincent and came to New York. I was in for a real surprise. I could not believe the way children spoke to adults, even to the teachers; all I kept thinking to myself was if this was Saint Vincent they would be getting lashes. In Caribbean, it really does take a village to raise a child; because everyone looks out for one another. You can get punished by a neighbor or an older family member, and if it gets back to your parents; you’ll be punished by them too. I learned from very valuable lessons that I still have instilled in me to this day. The only way it wouldn’t go that way is if I am being respectful and someone disrespects me.
High school was where I started writing poetry, and learning to use that to express my feelings and to speak to others in a different way. I was also able to take college courses, and even got to take a program at Columbia University for a week during the summer before my Senior year. I know this sounds cliche but high school was where I really learned a lot about myself, and really found and developed myself better. My high school always college prep us, so when we graduated it would not be a hard transition from high school to college. The only thing is no one warns about the transition back into college after you take time off.