COMMENTARY: If you need to put anyone on a gold pedestal, put teachers

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by Tana Valmond, DGS 2021 Top Scholar, Deputy Head Girl and Student of the Year, and CXC CCSLC Regional Top Female Performer, in tribute to the teachers and students of the Dominica Grammar School. Tana, whose life’s goal is to become a surgeon, is currently triple majoring in Chemistry, Physics, and Biology at Dominica State College. 


“If you need to put anyone on a  gold pedestal put Teachers. They are Society’s Heroes.”Guy Kawasaki. Yes, that was the theme that played through my mind. It was a distinct honour to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to the incredible staff of Dominica Grammar School, under the phenomenal leadership of former Principal, Ms. Alicia Jean-Jacques. Special congratulations to the 15 teachers who played an instrumental role in me successfully capturing the CXC CCSLC Regional Top Female Performer Award 2021. Their ingenuity, investment, and commitment to ensuring that I excelled beyond measures are admirable and must be commended. The truth of the matter is, that there would be absolutely no Tana without the solid foundation that the incredible teachers of the Dominica Grammar School gave me. I am greatly humbled and I owe every ounce of success to the Dominica Grammar School. Today,  I am thrilled that I can just Google Tana and I will see the local, regional and international articles about my major accomplishments.

I remember it like it was yesterday when my mum went to the Ministry of Education to ensure that my name was on the Dominica Grammar School list. I stand proudly to say that it was the best decision. Unfortunately, many criticised and questioned why an all A, Scholarship student would purposefully choose the Dominica Grammar School as my school of choice. Here is the answer. This right here is the proof in the pudding. I have never regretted a day spent at the Dominica Grammar School. My incredible teachers gave me wings to fly and to be who I am today.

I can still hear my Principal’s voice clearly, after I was chosen for the prestigious position of Student of the Year,  “Make sure you come back and support your school.” These sentimental words have stuck with me. Ms. Alicia Jean – Jacques, I hope I continue to make you proud. I believe words have power and we should always use them for the edification of others. I am back! I recall my mum telling me about two of my beloved teachers, teasing her about when it was my graduation, that she should come with a truck to pick up my awards. Two years later at my graduation, I successfully captured 12 awards, inclusive of the Principal’s Award for Initiative, Discipline, and Excellent School Spirit, The PTA Award for Academic Achievement, and the Subject Prize for Mathematics.

I firmly believe that I have broken the glass ceiling at the Dominica Grammar School. I will continue to use my exceptional academic success stories to inspire and motivate my fellow students to break the shackles of fear, intimidation, and self-doubt.  My success is a testament that the  Dominica Grammar School continues to produce remarkable young men and women. To the Principal, Vice Principlals Heads of Departments, teachers, secretary, cleaners security officers, and messengers, I salute you. I can confidently say that teamwork definitely makes the dream work. I owe every ounce of my success to my incredible teachers. I am super elated that I could reward you with tokens of my sincere appreciation and gratitude. Congratulations Teachers and GOD bless you abundantly.

I remember when I stepped out of my comfort zone to present myself as a candidate for the position of Head Girl. By nature, I am a doer and not so much a public speaker. I was petrified but thanks to the super amazing students, especially the first and second formers, they placed great confidence in me as their student leader. The night before the election , I was truly inspired when they told me that whether I win or not that I  would still be their Head Girl. I was honored to be the Deputy  Head Girl. I was thrilled because I was awarded the opportunity to continue to inspire my fellow students.

One of the many promises I made during my campaign, was that I would do everything in my capacity to ensure that students make the Principal’s Honor Roll. Today, I am beyond thrilled that I have delivered on my promise. Casier Cadette, 2022 DGS co Valedictorian and Yan Gregroire, Salutotarian, can attest  to that. A special congratulations to them. I would also like to congratulate co-valedictorian Kenny Edwards. It was with this in mind, that I was motivated to celebrate and honor their hard work with special prizes today. I am exhilarated that one of Dominica’s phenomenal professionals, Dr.Thomson Fontaine, selflessly donated the five top awards. A special thank you to HP Studio for donating the five certificates. I was thrilled to present the following special prizes:

Outstanding Student(2nd form) – Mehndi Charles

Excellent School Spirit(3rd form)- Kishma Theophile

Exemplary Conduct and Deportment (1st form) – Rene Talbert

Exemplary Leadership (4th form) – Thea Blondel

Most Improved Student Striving for Academic Excellence (4th form)- Abigail Toussaint

Congratulations to the five deserving students on their great accomplishments.

Three special subject prizes were also presented.

Physical Education and Sports (Cricket) to Newton Valmond – donated by Dominica’s Cricket Star Mr. Adam Sanford 

Excellence in Mathematics to Brennon Esprit – donated by Mrs. Jessica Stedman

Artistic Excellence in Visual Arts to Elianette Jolly – donated by artist, Mr. Aaron Hamilton

A token of appreciation donated by Pastor Vaughn Vigilante, was also presented to Mrs. Dorcus Francis-Simon for her dedication to the Bible Club,

I am convinced that putting GOD first in every aspect of our lives will produce extraordinary results.

I am very honored and grateful to my amazing parents, especially my Mom, Yvette Charles, for championing this worthy cause. A heartfelt thank you to my Primary School French Teacher, Mrs. Elisa Matthew, Ms.Donella Riviere, Manager of Print City for donating the certificate to the School, Mr. Roberts, Mr.Hezron Seraphin, and others too numerous to mention.

I would like to take this incredible opportunity to urge DGS past students and parents to continue to support the school in order to achieve great success. Remember the seeds you plant today will benefit the new generation.

I am satisfied that I have successfully executed my Head Girl’s Mission Statement, “Leading with Excellence interlaced with Humility.” GOD bless Dominica.

To GOD be the glory great things he has done.


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  1. Ivenia
    July 11, 2022

    Excellent. Well done miss valmond. Continue to bless others as you were blessed.
    Don’t know who you are, but I’m proud of your efforts.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  2. Ibo France
    July 10, 2022

    I reserve a very special place in my heart for teachers and nurses. These two sets of humanitarians are mostly overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated.

    At some time in our sojourn on this mundane sphere, it’s inevitable, we will get sick. Nurses work tirelessly to nurse us back to good health.

    We presently live in a modern, technological world. Without teachers and learning institutions these great advancements would most likely be unattaainable..

    No sober minded, honest person should disagree that the rest of us owes a mammoth debt of gratitude to our teachers and nurses. They influence and save lives. Maximum respect to them.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

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