Sunday, February 24, 2013


RIP Norma Keizer

Last week my Girls High School family was thrown into mourning when the death of Mrs Norma Keizer, the longest serving headmistress (1975-90) of the institution was announced. All told she spent 36 years as a teacher at the school but prior to her teaching career she was also a student at the school. Norma Keizer strode the hallowed halls before my time but her shadow loomed large. From the time I entered the gates there was the Norma Keizer Resource Centre- a building that housed the science laboratories and the library to my right.  Prior to the erection of this building, the girls had to make the journey to the nearby Grammar school to use the Science labs. That situation irked Mrs Keizer who felt that we needed our own laboratories if our interest in science was to grow. She spearheaded a fundraising drive and got the government to match the monies raised and sometime in the late 80's the labs were constructed.

 Although she taught many subjects at the GHS her lessons went beyond the classrooms. An excerpt from her profile in the Centennial Magazine says  "The lessons she sought to teach did not confine themselves to the academics.  For example, in the 1980’s when Anita Richardson, a student at the school was brutally murdered on her way from school, she led the entire student body on a march through Kingstown to protest violence against women. On another occasion, she led the students on a march to protest a protracted and severe teacher shortage.  She felt that the marches were important not only to bring attention to their plight, but to instil in her girls an understanding of the role of social activism in bringing about change in society"

After leaving the GHS, Mrs Keizer's teaching found another medium as the Editor of the newly found Searchlight Newspaper. Instead of moulding teen-aged minds she was now shaping the minds of the nation.  Once a teacher always a teacher comes to mind. Mrs Keizer was loved by her students and I daresay their parents..Her students all speak of a woman who knew them by name and whose stare was enough to keep them on the straight and narrow. The stories are many and varied but the central theme points to the genuine interest she had in the welfare of her students and the mutual love they shared.

During the Centennial celebrations of 2011 I saw the reverence with which Mrs Keizer was treated. Everyone seemed thrilled  beyond words to see her as evidenced by the hugs, kisses and general well wishes for her health. I can still see her sitting in her wheel chair surrounded by adoring alumni  graciously signing copy after copy of the Centennial magazine.  Walk good, Mrs Keizer you served GHS and St Vincent well. I just wish I had the opportunity to have had you as my headmistress

In memory of A True Vincy Patriot. A woman who dedicated her life to educate and nurture several generations of young men and women in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Add another name to the very short list of NATIONAL HEROES. Let me suggest, that sometime in the not to distant future, that the Girls High School be RENAMED: THE NORMA KEIZER GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL. I do not think this is too much to ask of the relevant authorities.


A dedication to a Phenomenal Woman indeed:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

(Maya Angelou)
Walk good Mrs. Keizer.
I disagree with the renaming. As iconic as she was she was let the school be called St Vincent and the Grenadines GHS
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