Retired educator Emily Mills honoured on her 85th birthday

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr William Vincent Hodge presents a fruit basket to Mrs Emily Mills.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, March 17, 2020 (MMS-SKN) — Retired educator Mrs Emily Mills was on Saturday March 14 recognised by the Ministry of Education, which was represented by Permanent Secretary Mr William Vincent Hodge, at a special service held at the Molineux Seventh Day Adventist Church as she celebrated her 85th birthday.

“On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Education, the Ministry of Education, the government, and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, we want to thank you for your contribution to education,” said Mr Hodge. “Your contribution, Sister Mills, is well edged in our history.”

Mrs Mills, who was born on March 10, 1935 in Molineux, was first appointed as a pupil teacher in early 1950s. She later went on to teach at the Tabernacle Government School, Molineux, and Cayon Primary Schools, and according to her bio, her final official appointment was at the Cayon High School (1975-1990).

“Sister Mills is the author of the Cayon High School song, ‘In North St. Christopher’ – a very well composed song,” said Mr Hodge. “(Immediate Cayon High School Principal) Mr Francil Morris who is now our Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer always thinks highly of Sister Mills, and I think the school did something special for her birthday and I am happy to see some students here today from Cayon High School.”

The students, who were a subset of the school’s steel pan band, performed the school song on pan. They were accompanied, and introduced, by Mrs Noline Blanchard, Guidance Counsellor and member of the school’s senior management team.

Permanent Secretary Hodge, after he learnt from Mrs Mills’ bio that she did some training in remedial reading courses in the summers of 1975 and 1976, announced that the Ministry of Education is currently working full steam to reintroduce a reading intervention programme in schools.

“So I want to thank you for the contribution that you made in helping our youngsters to learn to read,” said Mr Hodge. “I am going to get a plaque on behalf of the Ministry of Education and am going to come back one of these Saturdays and present you that plaque.”

Prime Minister and Area Parliamentary Representative Dr the Hon Timothy Harris also honoured Mrs Emily Mills with a floral arrangement that was presented to her on his behalf by President of Constituency Number Seven Women Empowerment Group Mrs Sonia Henry, member Mrs Vincia Matthew, and a former head teacher of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School, Ms Joycelyn Mitchum.

In the meantime Ms Mitchum said that the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School (formerly Molineux Primary School) song was written by Mrs Emily Mills long after she would have retired. Students from the school, who were accompanied by head teacher Ms Suzette Cannonier, were also present and they rendered a song in honour of Mrs Mills.

“I was the head teacher at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School and Mrs Mills worked along with me on several projects,” said Ms Mitchum who is now the Manager/Printer at the Government Printery.

“She was retired when she wrote the school song,” noted Ms Mitchum. “She was involved in community development and we had a lot of community involvement in the school. Because she was part of the school, and I knew she did the song for Cayon High School I requested her service.”

Deputy Director of Social Services Mrs Mary Anne Wigley, who represented the Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Services at the special service in honour of Mrs Mills, presented her with a floral arrangement from the Ministry and a birthday card from herself.

Mrs Wigley said that on many occasions she would have asked Mrs Mills to join her as she visited schools to speak to children about the old days “because some of the children do not remember, or the parents do not tell them. She also spoke at the celebrations of the Month of Older Persons to children, for our Department of Social Services.”

Pastor Linden Elliott told the congregation that at 85 Mrs Emily was batting better than the West Indies Cricket team. The special service ‘Celebrating life with Sister Emily Mills’ whose sermon was delivered by Elder Leroy Pemberton Jr. was attended by members of her immediate family, Education Officer for Cayon High School Mr Roger Woodley, Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer Mr Francil Morris, and Personnel Officer Ms Stacy Gumbs who is a niece of the celebrant.

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