The question was posed on Facebook by Life in Trinidad, which is the best school in the Port-of-Spain area. Of course the “girls in green, gold, black and white”, my alma mater, St. Francois Girls College is and would always be the best school.
Consumed by memories, lost in my nostalgia, I reminisced on my school days. Although it has been 10 years since I graduated from St. Francois, it still feels like if it were yesterday. Whenever I think of my alma mater, thoughts of my former principal, Mrs. Patricia McIntosh are ever-present.
Mrs. McIntosh or Macky, Mac or Old Mac as she was fondly called by her students was a woman after our own hearts. Many of us did not always think so but I can proudly say that she has shaped me into the woman that I am today.
What would Macky say?
- “Just focus and do it!” This was her mantra and she would drill this into us every day. I still repeat it to this day.
- “Immediately” pronounced “imjetly”. You know that Macky was serious when she yelled imjetly.
- “Don’t lose your marbles with me.” Her way of asking if you were crazy.
- “Go to the Clothing and Textiles room and take down that hem.” Macky insisted that our green four gored skirt should fall two inches below your knee.
- “Are you going to fry?” She would usually ask this to students who powdered their necks.
- “Iron down your collar.” Ironing up your collar was the “in thing”, not for our Macky. Off to the Clothing and Textiles room you go.
- “Shoddy” – Her description of being inappropriately attired for school based on her standards.
What would Macky do?
- Call the Fire Services to bring water when the school’s water tanks were empty. SFGC is located in Belmont, an area affected by water shortages and an inconsistent supply of water. As with most schools, this usually means home time. Not for SFGC and not under Macky’s watch. For us it meant sit tight, water is on its way. The same applied when there was no electricity. I honestly believe that she had all the public utilities on speed dial.
- Remove all the mirrors in the washroom. Being the disciplinarian that she was, this was her course of action. She would often exclaim that “you did not come to school for that!”
- Lock the gate to the washroom during the last period. If you felt that you could skip class during the last period to “dolls up”, better believe you had something else coming. Macky was always ten steps ahead.
- “Pull up” on the Belmont taxi stand and put students in a taxi and whisk remainder of students off to school in her van. Macky had her spies who would inform her when students were liming on the taxi stand instead of making their way to school. She was afraid of no one and was not afraid to let her inner badjohn loose.
- Give you a “Buy-a-Brick” booklet to sell. Macky was forward-thinking and proactive. She was not about to wait on the Ministry of Education to assist with upgrades to her school. She took things into her own hands.