By Charminae George
Celebrations are underway at the Thomas Oliver Robinson (TOR) Memorial School in Paynters, commemorating 125 years of the school’s existence.
Founder’s Day is celebrated annually on December 7 to honour the primary school’s founder, Dame Georgiana Nellie Robinson, Antigua and Barbuda’s lone female National Hero.
The school’s current Principal Arlene Gonsalves spoke glowingly of the significant milestone.
“We are very proud to have continued this legacy until now. Our students are very excited to know that they are a part of this legacy, celebrating 125 years, and that our founder is one of our national heroes,” she stated.
She also spoke of the deep sense of school pride observed amongst the student body.
“When they share their concerns as to how they feel, they say, ‘I’m a part of the best school in the world!’ So we know that they are proud to know they are TOR-rites,” Gonsalves shared.
The TOR Memorial School’s Principal affirmed that the legacy started by Dame Nellie has continued over the years.
“TOR, for me, stays true to its motto, ‘I press towards the mark’. I can say as the headmistress for today that my childhood coming through TOR, going back as a teacher and now as the leader, the discipline that was laid as a foundation, we still got it,” she stated.
Named after her deceased brother, Dame Nellie was 18 years old in 1898 when she founded the TOR Memorial School.
During the heart of British colonialism, it welcomed and provided education to disadvantaged classes of people, one of which was black people.
It was also one of the first co-ed schools of that time, according to Gonsalves.
On November 1, 2006, Dame Nellie was posthumously awarded Dame Companion of the Most Exalted Order of National Hero (DNH) for her contribution to education.