Dame Ivy mesmerizes Lyford Cay International School students
Armed with fascinating stories of growing up in The Bahamas and living in Government House as the first female Governor General of The Bahamas, Dame Ivy Dumont, mesmerized students at Lyford Cay International School with stories of growing up on Long Island and moving to The Bahamas to attend Government High School.
The message to the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth graders was simple: read and write.
Dame Ivy told students of her early relationships with many of the influential early leaders of The Bahamas, as well as stories of island life, of fishing and farming and livestock. She illustrated the differences between Nassau and Long Island by comparing her one-room school house to the bustling campus at The Government High School.
In her storytelling, calm voice, trained after countless years in education she presented her recent book Rose’s to Mount Fitzwilliam (titled to document her travels from Roses, Long Island to Government House on Mount Fitzwilliam) to the students, and explained to them the process of writing and publishing a book.
The former Governor General revealed that many earlier conversations with friends had inspired her to write her book, and that it was Pastor Myles Munroe who pointed out to her that “half of the history of The Bahamas is in the graveyards, and nobody will ever know.” And she understood that the best story to write would be her own because that’s what she knows.
She told the Lyford Cay students that she hoped that future generations of her family would get to know her through her book.
“I won’t be here for some of the great-great-great-grands, but that’s okay, I’m going to leave them something to read,” she said.
Dame Ivy stressed to the students the importance of not losing individual family histories, imploring students to talk to their grandparents and ask them all sorts of questions. She said their answers will tell them who they are.
Dame Ivy Dumont encouraged the students to start the writing process by simply keeping a log, and to include a combination of actual events as well as things they wished for and their feelings at the time they were writing.
“I used to write notes to myself all the time,” she told the students. “One of the most difficult things about being a writer was choosing specific things to write about. “You can’t write about everything that has happened,” she warned.
At the conclusion of Dame Ivy’s talk, students were given the opportunity to ask questions, many of which were focused on the differences between living in New Providence and Long Island, as well as what it was like moving into Government House as the Governor General. Dame Ivy answered all questions graciously and always with a little humor. Students were given some real insight on why her book “Rose’s to Mount Fitzwilliam” was written and were, hopefully, inspired to begin to document their own family histories.
Lyford Cay International School principal, Stacy Bobo, said Dame Ivy’s visit to the school was perfectly timed, in light of the school’s current emphasis on writing.
She said it was one of the key International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile elements of being “open-minded”.
“The IB believes that students cannot take a view and be ‘open’ to other views unless they know their own personal history and use that as a point of reference,“ said Bobo.