October 19, 2019 | 12:17 pm
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Chantal Reminisces as she Visits Her Alma Mater-Dupint Primary

Hello Jamaica!

 It’s so great to be back home! The great thing about being Miss Jamaica is that every day is new and exciting.

 One day I could be greeting the new US Ambassador at Jamaica AIDS Support For Life, and the next day I could be celebrating with children in the Waltham Park community or watching Shaggy and Alaine perform from the front row of a mobile TV launch.

 However, one of my most memorable experiences came from my visit to my old primary school, Dupont Primary.

 As I pulled into Dupont’s big metal gates, the memories came flooding back. I remembered when my Grade 2 classmate, Jason, decided I was the girl he liked that week, so he used his last dollar to buy me a gold fish from a vender outside the school yard. That was the late ‘80s when a Jamaican dollar was big money.

 I also remembered how much I use to look forward to getting bun and cheese and kisko pops from the little shop across from the school, even though I was too little to cross the street alone.

 Upon arrival at the school, I was pleased to find out that there were still five faculty members on staff from my days as a student, including my very own infant school teacher, Mrs. Lloyd.

 Though I was very young, I remember Mrs. Lloyd being a kind, warm and encouraging teacher, while still being stern enough to give me a good spanking for playing Dandy Shandy in her classroom when she left the room. I suppose that’s tough love. (smile)

 She was also the first of many teachers to say my hand-writing looked like “crab toe.” Haha! I’m sure she would be happy to know that not much has changed over the years.

 Many of the teachers wanted me to visit their classes in hopes that their students would be inspired by my accomplishments, and I was really grateful to have that opportunity.

 I was also very excited to meet Coach McIntosh. who was a member of the Jamaican bobsled team that had inspired me for so many years. Heaven knows that I only made it through those cold winters and blizzards at Harvard by telling myself, “If Jamaica can have a bobsled team, then I can make it through today.” Coach and I weren’t the only “Dupont celebrities” at the school that day. The school’s principal, Mr. Rowe, was equally as excited to meet my granddad, whom he called “the legendary Mr. Raymond.”

 Dupont is very special to our family because my grandfather, Augustus Raymond, was its first principal from 1970 to 1983. He is also responsible for much of the construction that transformed the school into the massive institution it is today, which I obviously forgot when I requested to visit every single class.

 My grandmother, Dr. Dorothy Raymond, then took the reigns as Principal until 1993, only leaving for a short time to serve a one-year tenure as president of the Jamaica Teachers Association.

 I would like to personally thank the faculty, staff and students of Dupont Primary for welcoming me with open arms and allowing me to join them for such a beautiful day.

 Seasons Greetings to You and Yours,

Chantal and students pose for the camera