On April 5 this year, social media was ablaze with the 185th anniversary emblem of St Joseph Convent, Port of Spain. Today, we decided to join in the celebration in recognition of the hard work and tireless contribution of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny (SJC) to Trinidad and Tobago.
On April 5, 1836, the SJC arrived in Trinidad from Martinique on a mission to open “a house of education in which all classes and religions can receive a solid and adequate grounding”. Within three months of their landing, the doors of the first secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago were opened, and so today, 185 years later, many women (and a few men) have joined on social media to celebrate the anniversary of their alma mater St Joseph Convent.
“I often reflect on whether the founding Sisters would have ever thought that the school would become not only one of [the] nation’s leading secondary schools, but an institution of excellence that is recognised and dearly respected in the education fraternity across the Caribbean region. One hundred and eighty five years after, the school sustains and stands strong, firmly rooted in the values of our dear foundress, Blessed Anne-Marie Javouhey (1779-1851),”said Lisa Achang Newallo, President of the Past Pupils Association.
We thought we would join this rich celebration by reaching out to a few SJC students to get a better understanding about the best of SJC, and more importantly, to discover the answer to the question that almost every Trinidadian wants to know… “Do Convent girls know they have an accent?”
Daniel S Campbell
Class of: 1996
House: Our Lady’s House
What is your best SJC memory: Loved all sport days and cheerleading practise in the courtyard.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about SJC: We are diverse! It is not the SJCPOS of old at all. It is a good representation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Do you have a Convent accent? Apparently I do. Lol 7 years of SJCPOS will always stick to me! I claim it and I am proud
Judy Mc Sween Joseph
Class of: 74-76
What is your best SJC memory: Combination of sports, spirituality, intellectual knowledge and real good camaraderie. Also playing rounders with the other Form Ones on lunchtime.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about SJC : We’re not as stush as you think.
Do you have a Convent accent: Definitely!
Fr Ako Walker CsSR
Class of: 1992
House: I can’t recall.
What is your best SJC memory: My first time in the cafeteria and having to contend with the sea of girls to get my lunch. It was a bit intimidating but I survived. That day I made lots of new friends, some with whom I still have friendships.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about SJC: I wish people would know that SJC is a ‘normal’ school with many of its own challenges. The work ethic of the admin and staff and the love and loyalty of the parents and students (past and present) for the school makes a tremendous difference. #Conventpride can be felt by those who attended and taught at the school. Lol!
Do you have a Convent accent? I don’t have a Convent accent. Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey, pray for us.
Class of: 1990
House: St Xavier’s (I was House Captain)
What is your greatest SJC memory: The friendships I made there that are still going strong and Mrs Gonzales, the art teacher who spotted my creative potential long before I did.
Do I have a Convent accent? Hahaha! I don’t believe I do.
Class of: 1967
What is your greatest SJC memory: I played netball and really enjoyed those days
What do you want everyone to know about SJC: Being with the Sisters. In those days it was very spiritual and it was a real rounded education
Do you have a Convent accent: Well I am well spoken.