Barbadian Teacher retires after serving 21 Years in the Cayman Islands

Veteran Barbadian educator, Favourita Blanchard, has retired from a 21-year career in teaching in the Cayman Islands and is returning to Barbados.

On Saturday, March 1, members of the Barbadian community in Cayman, fellow teachers and friends gathered to say farewell to her, and to recognize her contribution of more than four decades dedicated to promoting high standards in education in Barbados and the Cayman Islands.

Barbados’ Honorary Consul, Juliette Gooding-Michelin, said at the farewell dinner, “We could not allow Favourita to leave the Cayman Islands without acknowledging her exceptional contribution to the development of education here. She has been an excellent ambassador for Barbados in this country.”

Mrs Blanchard started her teaching career in 1972 at St. Paul’s Primary School in Barbados. In 1977 she transferred to St Bartholomew’s Boys’ School and moved on from there to the Luther Thorne Memorial Primary School in 1983.

While teaching in Barbados, she joined the Cub Scouts Association and became a certified Cub Scout leader.

She attended Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, where she gained her teacher’s certificate with distinctions in teaching and music. She continued her studies at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, where she successfully completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Linguistics with Education, graduating with honours.

In 1989 and 1990, she taught Curriculum Planning and Classroom Management at Erdiston for the Substitute Teachers Training Programme.

After 20 years’ service with the Ministry of Education in Barbados, she accepted a contract with the Ministry of Education in the Cayman Islands and began teaching at Creek Primary School in Cayman Brac in August 1992.

Favourita Blanchard (left) at the farewell dinner with Ferene Sealy, another long-serving Barbadian teacher in Cayman, and secretary to the Barbados Association in Cayman

Favourita Blanchard (left) at the farewell dinner with Ferene Sealy, another long-serving Barbadian teacher in Cayman, and secretary to the Barbados Association in Cayman

In 1996, Mrs. Blanchard was awarded the Cayman Islands’ Teacher of the Year “Teacher McField Award” for excellence in teaching.

She spent 10 successful years on Cayman Brac and then transferred to Red Bay Primary School, Grand Cayman, in 2002.

At Red Bay Primary, she taught Year Six students and also contributed to the Senior Management Team as Head of the Junior Department. During that time, she completed training as a Local Occasional Inspector with the then Schools’ Inspectorate.

In 2006, Mrs. Blanchard was appointed Curriculum Development Officer (Primary) and contributed to the development of a National Curriculum for Government schools in the Cayman Islands. In 2007, she became Inspector of Schools, contributing to and leading many inspections of government and private schools, managing teams that consisted of local and overseas inspectors.

Mrs. Blanchard worked with an overseas inspector to conduct training workshops for school leaders, and also trained senior school managers to assist with a review of behaviour and inclusion in government primary and secondary schools.

While with the Schools’ Inspectorate, she and a fellow inspector also prepared and conducted sessions at the University College of the Cayman Islands for students who were pursuing their teaching degree, as she had done at Erdiston College many years previously.

She worked with the Schools’ Inspectorate from 2007 until her retirement on January 18, 2014. Mrs. Blanchard says, “I‘m looking forward to reuniting with family and friends and effectively contributing to the Barbadian society in any area that I can.”

Mrs. Gooding-Michelin says that she hopes the Government of Barbados will view Mrs. Blanchard as a much needed resource and utilise her knowledge, experience and skills to the benefit of the education system and students in Barbados.

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