Using Memories to Make History

TCI takes part in the Commonwealth Jubilee Time Capsule.
By Kathy Borsuk

If you ask someone to name important events during a particular time frame, not only might they note national milestones (constitution signed, airport opened, hurricane hit), but also events crucial to their community (church broke ground, local roads paved) and, most importantly, to their family (father left to find work in the Bahamas, sister got married, cousin won a track medal). When you look back at the history of a nation, it is made up of just such a compilation of the corporate and the personal.

In the British Commonwealth, 2012 marks Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, commemorating her 60 year reign as queen from February 6, 1952 to the present. Among many celebrations, the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) is coordinating the Commonwealth Jubilee Time Capsule. It will include 21,915 days worth of history written by the people of the Commonwealth, one for each day Her Majesty has been head of the association. The plan is for people to enter stories, photos, videos, music, drawings, poems and other creative forms of memory about a day in the last 60 years that is important to them, their family or their country. (See www.jubileetimecapsule.org.)

Queen Elizabeth visited Grand Turk and South Caicos in 1966.

These memories — the untold stories of millions of ordinary and extraordinary lives — will be compiled in a unique, online Time Capsule, with the best entries presented as a gift to Her Majesty on Commonwealth Day, March 12, 2012, and also awarded prizes.

Local private school British West Indies Collegiate (BWIC), the top college preparatory high school in the country, has been chosen as one of 150 Super Schools across the Commonwealth to help RCS commit to reaching the 21,915 days of content as a team. This means that BWIC’s students, parents and friends must make at least 150 contributions, covering any 150 days during Her Majesty’s reign. With this latitude, the school is sure that every person and institution — be it a business, church, youth group, sports team or government agency — should be able to find a significant day that will reflect their contribution to island life.

BWIC Principal Sylvie Wigglesworth is excited over the amazing possibilities this project opens up, “At a time in our history when we need to pull together and help one another through a tough period, this will cause us to remember who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved, and guide us to where we are heading next.” She adds that this will provide a unique opportunity for the people of the TCI — be they Belongers or expatriates — to tell THEIR story, in THEIR own way.

The entries can take the form of a piece of writing (1,000 words maximum), a set of photos with captions, film or audio material (four minutes maximum), newspaper clipping, poster, artwork, poem, musical composition, you name it! It must be dedicated to any aspect of life in the Turks & Caicos Islands between the years of 1952 and 2012. Entries will be submitted to the project electronically, so it will have to be possible to scan or photograph them.

BWIC students will be participating in the Jubilee Time Capsule project.

BWIC students and staff will be working with the community to collect memories until the deadline of January 27, 2012. Besides submitting the entries for the Commonwealth Jubilee Time Capsule, BWIC plans to put all contributions on exhibit in Brayton Hall, turn them over to the Turks & Caicos National Museum for a potential exhibit in the soon-to-be Providenciales branch and, we will regularly feature them in a new Times of the Islands column, “A Day in the Life.” (See examples in this issue.) The Royal Commonwealth Society has also promised prizes for the best entries submitted by the schools.

So, search your memory, talk to your relatives, dig into that drawer or scrapbook. Take out your tape recorder or camera, pull out the paints or crayons. Be creative and let your voice form part of the people’s history of the TCI!

To submit an entry or work with a BWIC student on compiling your entry, contact Sylvie Wigglesworth at 649 941 3333 or email bwicprincipal@tciway.tc.

BWIC would like to acknowledge Mr. Bill Clare for lending precious personal documents to the school, in support of this project.

Formed and operated by the TCI Education Foundation, a charitable organization incorporated in 1993, the British West Indies Collegiate is a private international secondary school whose founding ethos is the provision of education of the highest possible quality for the children of the Turks & Caicos as well as those who reside in the Islands. The school provides an environment that encourages students to achieve to their full potential, both inside and outside the classroom.
In 1998, the Collegiate was accredited as an International Examination Centre by the University of Cambridge in the UK and as a SAT Examination Centre by the American College Board. To date, the Collegiate has a 100% success rate for securing university places for students completing the Advanced Level programme.
Of the students currently registered at the school, approximately 65% are TCI Nationals (Belongers), with the rest comprising a variety of nationalities. The TCI Education Foundation in conjunction with other donors operates a scholarship programme primarily for Belonger students, based on academic merit.
The Collegiate employs teachers with university degrees and postgraduate teaching qualifications, competent in teaching to Advanced Level in their respective subjects.

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Aysha Stephen is Grand Turk’s newest artistic sensation, renowned for her iconic “Cool Donkeys” paintings. Her creations are quite the hit with visitors to TDB Fine Arts Gallery. It recently opened within the Turks & Caicos National Museum on Grand Turk and is dedicated to showcasing art “Made in TCI.

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