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“I don’t think I would change anything…I would live it the same way. I am quite satisfied with my life and service to humanity and I am trying very much now to serve God in the right way.”By Leon SuseranAs a little girl, she would assist her mother with preparation of various dishes which the family would sell at the dances. It was perhaps while partaking in such activities that the young lady fell head over heels in love with the various aspects of life that dealt with Home Economics.Catherine ArcherAs the years went by, she nurtured her talent in the kitchen and home and furthered her studies in the much-loved field and even represented Guyana at Home Economics Conferences around the world.Moreover, she has been a well-recognized educator, especially in her capacity as District Education Officer in several parts of the country.Catherine Doreen Archer was born at Lot 36 Stanleytown, New Amsterdam, to Mary and Samuel Archer (both deceased). She attended the All Saints’ Anglican School, Berbice High and later, Victoria High School. She subsequently did a few commercial subjects and opted to teach at the Mission Chapel Congregational School.Catherine then enrolled at the Teachers’ Training College and chose to pursue Home Economics as her specialist subject, which she was later assigned to teach at the St. Francis Xavier R.C. School (present- day Port Mourant Secondary), under the headship of Mr. Lionel Solomon. She worked there until she was transferred to Berbice High. She later migrated to Toronto, Canada,Cheap China Jerseys, after being chosen to become familiarised with and trained in preparation for the introduction of a multilateral programme that was to have been instituted countrywide by the then education ministry. This training took place at a Canadian university.When asked what made her enter teaching, Ms. Archer related that it “was the thing to do at the time”. “I opted for Home Economics because my mother was always doing something related to that. She did catering—those were the days when you sold at dances. She would sell whether at the police dance or lodge dance. From the day before there was lots of activity in the house.”“You’re baking patties, making stuffed eggs—and you, as a child, you’re part of it—you’re helping to put the pepper on the stuffed eggs… so you’re doing things,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, you’re learning, and I thought when I entered Training College and opted for that, that was most fulfilling.”Ms. Archer briefly recalled that during her Home Economics stint at Training College, she told her lecturer that she [her lecturer] didn’t really teach her anything new, except for the fact that “she taught me the correct names for the things”.“I learnt the correct terms, but the actual things we did were things I learnt from my mother. Those skills benefitted me for life…And you’re willing to pass them on, because you feel, if you die, you die with those invaluable skills, so Home Economics is [for] life”.Ms. Archer worked at the Hopetown Home Economics Centre in West Berbice until 1981 after which she was assigned as Education Supervisor in Region Three. She also pursued her Bachelor of Education Degree in Home Economics, after which she returned to Region Six and took up her position as District Education Officer (DEdO). A number of schools in the region fell under her purview, during which she was responsible for overseeing the administering of technical education.District Education OfficerMs. Archer reminisced about her many years working as DEdO in Georgetown, Regions Three, Five, and Six.“It gave you an opportunity to learn different administrative styles because you worked under different persons and to each one, you saw managerial approaches that were different,” she reflected.Displaying some of her creative handiwork.She reminisced about going into the various areas, and particularly remembered the Canals Polder “…it was striking that people were willing to learn. But don’t go to the Canals Polder on a Friday because they have to reap for market on a Saturday”.The lifestyle and culture of the diverse locales, she noted, made a difference.“In Region 5, I never got to go in to the riverain areas because it was always difficult in terms of transportation. But in Region 3, people would come out and you would arrange this. Early in the morning, a small boat would take you into the Parika Backdam, Saxacalli or Lanaballi. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to eat, where you going to sleep or when you coming out, but you’re going because there are schools you need to visit. It helped that the residents were very friendly.”She related that it was not really hard being away from home for long periods, because “there was a focus”. Her father was alive, she stated, thus her mother had company back at home. However, it was after her father died, that it was a bit hard for her mom to be alone at home. During this difficult period, Ms. Archer would sometimes have to rush back home just to make sure mom was doing fine.She added that she refused a job opportunity out of Berbice as well as an application to further her studies in the form of a Master’s Degree, “because I couldn’t take her [mom] away from New Amsterdam or leave her alone”.RetirementCatherine Archer retired in 1997 from the education sector. She then decided to do voluntary work whereby she monitors the School Based Assessments (SBAs) for students writing CXC exams; supervises ACCA Exams and also works with inmates at the New Amsterdam Prisons, “mostly the females, but sometimes I am asked to do work with some individual males”.Ms. Archer often teaches them how to decorate cakes and suchlike, “so at least they go out with a skill and I do self-esteem workshops and programmes with them, along with individual counseling”. She was recognized for her valiant efforts at the prison with numerous awards and certificates, both regionally and nationally.Ms. Archer (sitting third from left) with honouree teachers of Region Six on World Teachers’ Day in 2011.Because she regularly counseled inmates,Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale, she related that they started to develop a trusting bond with her.“Others wanted to talk with me and some days I would go in with the intention of spending an hour and I would end up spending three hours…When you sit and listen to them, when you leave there, you are tired—but you just have to listen. They found it easier to confide in a stranger and they were very comfortable talking to me and I tried my utmost to guide them along.”She is also deeply involved in church-related activities, being a devout Anglican at the All Saints’ Church. A good planner, she is,China Jerseys Wholesale, in events for that Church such as cake sales, prayer breakfasts, tea parties, bazaars and the upcoming Mother & Child Pageant for Mother’s Day.Even though she retired from practicing Home Economics in schools, etc., Ms. Archer visited a number of countries, where she participated primarily in International Federation of Home Economics Congresses – like the one in 2004 in Japan, where she did a presentation. Additionally, in 2008, she participated in a similar high level forum in Switzerland. She is a member of the Caribbean Association of Home Economics, of which Guyana is a part.She also played an integral role in the start-up of the New Amsterdam Action Group (NAAG), a non- Governmental body that aims at improving the physical environment of the town of New Amsterdam, particularly in the area of solid waste management. The group did a lot of work with residents of Angoy’s Avenue and the efforts proved to be a catalyst in that the government, after the project, decided to rehabilitate the roads in that squatting area.Ms. Archer related her frustration with littering in the town. “Until the government and the council put strict mechanisms in place that will deter people from dropping stuff along the way, I will not get involved in solid waste anymore”.AccoladesAnd then there are the accolades. Ms. Archer received an ‘Award for Sterling Contribution to Education’ from the Region Six Department of Education in October 1994 as well as another for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Education’ in August 2011. Other accolades and appreciatory certificates include an Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Municipal Agenda Process’ from the New Amsterdam Mayor & Town Council in 2004; an award for ‘Sustained Collaboration towards the Development of the Guyana Prison Service’ (GPS) in September 2010; an honouree award along with 51 other women in Guyana for the International Year for the People of African Descent by the Regional Sub-Committee Region Six on the occasion of the 173rd Anniversary of Emancipation in 2011,cheap nfl jerseys outlet,  as well an award from Director of Prisons, Mr. Dale Erskine of the Guyana Prison Service on the GPS’s 26th Anniversary.Home EconomicsI then asked Ms. Archer what part Home Economics plays in the lives of Guyanese students today.“It is supposed to be important, but it’s sad to say it seems to be dying in the curriculum. I recall the days when the subject was taught in primary schools…but not so today. It’s worrying that not many students pursue it in the secondary schools. You go into some schools and you find very few children writing the subjects… and if they write Food & Nutrition (F&N) and Home Economics Management, you may just find one or two writing theIn Switzerland with delegates from the Philippines for the Home Economics Congress in 2004.Clothing and Textiles,” she candidly stated.She bemoaned the fact that the numbers of students entering for these subjects at the CXC level are very low each year as well. “They seem not to be putting the emphasis on Home Economics and its related subjects.”Ms. Archer recalled primary schools in the Berbice area which offered Home Economics and Industrial Arts many years ago and had very active departments.“There were schools that offered these like Fort Ordnance, Rose Hall Scots, St. Francis Xavier R.C., Port Mourant, Tain, and Black Bush Polder primary schools. Little by little, they began to close down—but now it’s mainly the secondary schools that carry the technical departments, not the primary…I don’t know the justification for that.”Home Economics, she stated, is not a subject just for the females.“Fewer males do it—and there was a time that the males tried to get into it [Home Economics] because they wanted to go and work on ships and they needed to do the F&N programme. And then you found males in the secondary schools were interested. But it’s for everybody—you wear clothes; you live in a house and you have to eat food and live; so that is the subject”, she asserted.Looking back through the years,China NFL Jerseys, our ‘Special Person’ stated that “I don’t think I would change anything…I would live it the same way. I am quite satisfied with my life and service to humanity and I am trying very much now to serve God in the right way”.Today she enjoys spending time in the kitchen. She makes a lovely and delicious serving of guava cheese, a piece of which she gave me to sample. She also makes guava jelly and bakes cakes, little sources of income for her these days.“I love baking black cake and I like to sew, but it gets tedious sometimes. While I was confined (at home for awhile due to hip-replacement surgery) and had nothing else to do, I did a lot of patchwork pieces and quilts—all done by hand, and I used to crochet a lot.”She concluded with words of advice for the young among us. “Live a life that is meaningful and that will impact the lives of others. Choose what you want to do, but make sure it is within the context of doing to others as you would have them do unto you.”
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