Visit to St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS)

Overcomed by Emotions

Jan 16th, 2016

Donation 2019

A Form 1 student of the St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS) was overcome with emotions last week Wednesday upon receiving a pleasant but shocking surprise. Shauneil Matherson burst into tears of joy when, upon opening an envelope handed to him by US-based retired Grenadian veteran Joseph Granger, observed it contained five 100-dollar bills. Joe, along with his brother Richard, journeyed to the SDCSS for a scheduled meeting with the Principal and three senior teachers to explain the formation, purpose and work of the newly formed Grenada Veteran Of Foreign Services (GVOFS) and to make the presentation to the young student.

Prior to that meeting, SDCSS was asked to identify a needy student, which is one of the GVOFS’ missions. Ms Denise Williams selected Shauneil Matherson from among the obviously many needy. He was not given much details of the reason neither were the teachers aware that the money would have been presented. The seemingly agile lad was spellbound at the sight and probably wondered if he was not dreaming. In fact the principal herself sitting at her desk remarked that she couldn’t believe what was unfolding before her very eyes.

Joe had some special words of advice for Shauneil while Principal – Miriam Calliste, Dpts. – Kelley Calliste and Denise Williams, GUT shop steward for the school – Andre George looked on and listened. He first asked Shauneil what he would like to be and he said a doctor. To achieve that aim you have to be steady with your books and study hard. Show steady progress throughout your school years, avoid bad company and bad influences. Joe hinted that just as he was giving to the lad at the time, so too the student ought to give back to Grenada when he would have achieved his goals later on in life. With these and more wise exhortations, Joe wished Shauneil the best during his years at the SDCSS.

Ms. Williams has the responsibility of monitoring Shauneil’s progress, guiding him along, being in touch with his parents and encouraging them to play their role, and submitting progress reports on the student to the GVOFS.

However, the excitement and emotions did not end with that presentation. Being a soldier, Joe was asked about his experiences in the military, and his explanations were dramatic, captivating but emotional as well. He shared on his operations on the front line in battle against enemies, and assisting fellow soldiers who were injured. He also talked about his method in training thousands of soldiers, relating some of the tough words and practices he employed. Questions from his small group inside the principal’s and his responses occupied more of the 2-hour meeting.

The mission of the GVOFS is about assisting “at risk” students and needy schools in Grenada. Mr. Calliste therefore took the opportunity to inform Joe about the financial plight of one of their Form IV students – Anisha Matthew, currently in Cuba to undergo surgery. Mr. Calliste also updated the group on fund-raising activities including some motorcades. He said that the medical professionals in Cuba were awaiting the last set of money in order to proceed, and then asked how GVOFS could assist. Joe immediately donated US$100 to the cause.

Joe also had the opportunity of meeting one of his assistants at his toy give-away on Stone Street in Westerhall. He said that he simply asked a young lady in the village to assist him with putting up flyers and assisting with the distribution. He had earlier asked her which school she attended and she said SDCSS. At the meeting therefore he enquired from the principal if she had a student named Emely Mapson, who was then called in.

Surprised at meeting him, while he was seeing her for the first time in uniforms, the warm greeting generated the most pleasant smiles from each. The principal admitted that Emely indeed told her about this gentleman and his financial assistance, and that Emaly sometimes gave her money to hold for security. Ms. Calliste was delighted that the reunion was established right in her office. Joe and Richard had earlier visited the St. David’s Primary School where he held discussions with the principal concerning the activities of the GVOFS.