The GBSS Hostel Blog – Home Page

myboardingschoolblog.net – is based on the book: The Grenada Boys Secondary School Hostel – Reminiscing on a boarding school life in Grenada.”

bp1The GBSS Hostel was the boarding arm of the Grenada Boys Secondary School providing a home for rural boys, a small percentage of the School’s population. The book is about recognition, and about saying ‘Thanks’ for an educational and life experience at the Grenada Boys Secondary School Hostel in which I, the author and others were grounded during our adolescent lives. The book is also about sharing a piece of Grenada’s educational history with current generations, another taste, as it were, of Grenada and the Caribbean. The Hostel was ‘Grenada’s best kept educational secret’, shining in academic performance as well as in Sports. The key to Hostel life was discipline – in study, in play, and in other aspects of social life. The Hostel had only one written rule: ‘A breach of common sense is a breach of Hostel rules’.

The Hostel experience was one which provided the boys with opportunities with which they could purify their own ‘base metals’ into ‘polished gems’. The process was one “of character and personalities unfurling under its offerings. Think of how a nutmeg tree reveals its treasures of nutmeg and mace. The tree bears a pod which is closed and green when immature. If the pod and its contents are no good, it wrinkles while green and falls to the ground where everything rots. As pods mature they grow in size, they turn yellow and progressively split in two halves to reveal bright red mace ensconced on a dark shiny nut. The open pods then fall to the ground from where they are picked up and another journey begins. Such was my Hostel experience”. The comparison is immortalized in the words of one Hostel Boy, Leon Wells (d): “So many of us came to the Hostel as brash, crude, `ignorant’, unhewn base metals, and left as polished gems.” This book is about that process.

============================================================

*“You are not mentally developed by what you read, but by what you think about what you read.” Wallace D.Wattles.

Enjoy your reading!!

Winston J. Phillips.

**For availability see ‘Contact’ page

 

 

Share

18 Responses to The GBSS Hostel Blog – Home Page

  1. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question
    which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    prior to writing. I have had a tough time
    clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or hints? Many thanks!

    • admin says:

      Try writing down your main points and some sub-points and proceed. This provides a framwork fpr your thoughts. You will no doubt make changes along the way, but this helps to begin. regards.

  2. Hello there, i learned one thing from GBSS hostel, discipline, self confidence, punctuality and self brief. These four things are the pillars of a man’s life.

  3. Tony Webster says:

    Wonderful to bump into this site…memories of G.B.S.S. come flooding back. A real privilege to have been allowed on the intake of c.1953 . Many years after “escaping” in 1962, to join Barclays Bank, I was visiting a sister in Calgary , Al., and she said to me that a mutual- surprise- friend would be joining us dinner that evening. The surprise was sprung when she opened her door to Arthur Sylvester, who by then was occupying the dizzing heights of Dean of Medicine, University of Alberta at Calgary! Many reminiscences were shared, and I bemoaned the fact that all the Carriacou boys ensconced at The Hostel, had enjoyed an unfair advantage over us mainlanders, as they had gained their feared brain-power thanks to their well-known consumption of Kayak fish-head broth! Arthur tilted his head back and laughed heartily at me: He said, “Tony, fish-head both my eye! It was Paul Scoon and other hostel-masters, who just made us do the work”. Well, the mention is timely, for in three days time as I write, all GBSS old boys will shed a tear, and say a prayer, for the repose of our dearest Sir Paul, as he is laid to infinite rest…in our hearts. Godspeed, Sir Paul, Godspeed. He is survived by his dear sister , Norma, who lives in Brothers, just aback of Gouyave. She would welcome a visit and a chat, or a call, I assure you. With fondest memories, and deepest respects, to the long, long, line of student-friends, and faculty, to whom I owe a debt which I can never repay. And in particular, to the author of this lovely little site! Take a bow, Winston

  4. Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

    >>Economics choice theory tells us that in a particular choice the perceived advantages (economies) are deemed to be more important (valuable) to the chooser than the disadvantages, present and future (dis-economies).<<

    Sure I knew that I would experience embarrassment and humiliation for my indiscretion, but I knew that my first-time of seeing Sparrow's performance to the very end would give me more than enough satisfaction to withstand whatever was going to be hurled at me by Sir Paul. Without knowing there was such an economic principle back then, I was in effect applying that very principle to justify the choice I was going to make. Common sense for me in that particular situation meant that there was no way for me to abort my matinee's enjoyment for anything else. Was I sorry for that indiscretion? No way, that's why I would unapologetically do the same thing if time could be reversed back to that day.
    And it is here the crux of my argument lies. From my perspective the real point in our famed Hostel's single rule was to allow each one of us youngsters to determine when we reach a crossroad, what appealed more to us than anything even to the point of violating what we clearly understood was a violation of Hostel rules. I know there is another way to look at it, but today they call it "stepping out of the box and taking the initiative" regardless of the consequences. In effect that's what Hatchet and I did!

    Bobby, that was perhaps the greatest lesson the Hostel taught me.

  5. Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

    >>The Hostel experience was one which provided the boys with opportunities with which they could purify their own ‘base metals’ into ‘polished gems’.<<

    Very, very true; you could not have summarized it any better! I'll bet that that process in itself was actually what produced that "Hostel Thing" that you spoke of. How inspiring it is to see today those former little Hostel "cavemen" as the late Michael Frame dubbed us. Attend one of the annual GBSS Christmas Balls in Brooklyn and you'll be mystified by the fine gentlemen you're likely to run into so many of whom, have done exceedingly well in their chosen professions. You sometimes have to "pinch yourself" to be reminded that those fine gentlemen you are looking at and chatting with used to be the same crude, uncoordinated, unsure, awkward, rambunctious, brutish, insecure and any other fitting adjectives that could have been used to describe us when we were young Hostel boys !!!

    But sometimes I would be reminiscing and laughing hard at some of the challenges hurled at the famous Hostel rule: ‘A breach of common sense is a breach of Hostel rules’. How was a young hot-blooded, unsure boy expected to always adhere to that rule? There were so many incidents that seemed perfectly reasonable at the time to the violators, but landed them in trouble anyway. One of them readily comes to mind. The bell calling us to dinner rang, and there a horde of hungry youngsters gathered as was the custom, waiting to be to led into the dinning room (as I recall, you, Dr. Phillips as Head Prefect, was in charge during that period and was to lead us). After waiting for what seemed an inordinately long time, one brave soul assumed the lead and led us inside. What was not "common sense" about that? Yet our headmaster K I M "Sarkies" Smith, residing nearby, was called in to discipline the young man. In what has to stand out as one of the more memorable and humorous of Sarkies famed sarcasm was what happened afterwards. Addressing the culprit in front of the entire Hostel including MaBraff, Sarkies in his well-defined Bajan accent said, "Young man, you said you were hungry" and went on to sum up the case against him. Then he turned directly to the culprit "Hatchet" Hannaway and said "Young man, please tell us why you led the boys inside," to which Hatchet, who never caught on to the trap that was set for him, responded "Sir, we were hungry, sir." It was there that the Sarkies we fondly recall as the master of the art of sarcasm shone though. Without missing a beat, our dear headmaster angrily retorted "Young man, I already told you that. Please tell us why you led the boys inside." There was no more room for wiggling and Hatchet dutifully took his strokes.

    What kind of common sense guidance would appeal to a true die-hard fan of the calypso king, the Mighty Sparrow, whom he was seeing perform for the very, very first time, to leave the matinee show that was still in progress at Empire Theater? To me common sense dictated that I stayed and enjoy this Calypso phenomenon to the very end. My partner in crime, MacElvin Pope, on the other hand far more in tune with the Hostel's interpretation of common sense, begged me in vain to leave the show so that we wouldn't be late for dinner. I stayed, he left!! Whose common sense was right? I found out what the Hostel's interpretation was when I arrived for dinner after the show. Our Hostel master, Mr. "Paulo" Scoon in his usual style, waved his fingers without uttering a word which meant to all of us to stay outside and not join the dinning that was already in progress.

    Looking back at those two incidents, I can now appreciate that they were the Hostel's way of helping us to weave our way through when seemingly commonsense choices confront us fully knowing ahead of time what the consequences would be. Who said life was easy? MacElvin's choice as well as mine in no way hindered both of us from "purify(ing) (our) own ‘base metals’ into ‘polished gems.’

    I would argue that was really the underlying message in our Hostel's famous single rule: 'A Breach of Common Sense is a Breach of Hostel Rules.' In essence it was make your choice but be prepared to live with the consequences.

    Would Hatchet or I have done the same thing again if given a second chance? I don't know about Hatchet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I would if the Mighty Sparrow or even better yet Sam Cooke was performing that glorious afternoon at Empire.

    • Bobby says:

      One of the things learned at GBSS and the Hostel was that if you had any punishment, you pretty well knew why. Going back to your action always led you to subconsciously think you deserved it. Every boy was supposed to be present at dinner, so if you stayed away and came late, and lost some privileges, you knew why. You could exercise your choice and do it again, but you knew that that was sending you closer to the Headmaster’s office. If you did do it again, that act became one of defiance, and not just an opportunistic occurrence. In the process you learnt the principles of discipline and taking responsibility. And what is discipline but giving up something you would rather not; or following the rules when you would rather not.
      The 7-days- as-Hostel-Master is a blur to me. What occurred to make me forget, I don’t know. I must have relied much on Sarcies since the Hannaway incident must go along with the Jeffrey incident, which in the headmaster’s assessment deserved ‘six of the best”. Why was I late – were we waiting perhaps on MaBraf?. In his confrontations, Sarcies mainly took you to an ‘ad absurdum’ state to let you see the lack of common sense in your act or argument. He would box you in then strike when you saw, as he would say that “you have no case”. I got and accepted ‘six of the best’ when Sarcies (based on my fishing story) advised me that I would had exposed the Hostel Matron and Matron to serious charges of negligence had I fallen into the sea and drowned. The lack of common sense in the concocted story alone, I had to admit, deserved strokes.
      And the statement was intended to make one think of the limits one wanted to impose on oneself. Economics choice theory tells us that in a particular choice the perceived advantages (economies) are deemed to be more important (valuable) to the chooser than the disadvantages, present and future (dis-economies). You are also right; underlying the concept was the thought that an act should be perceived in both its advantages and disadvantages. Often, I have to admit, we made choices based only on the advantages of the act, even if that was just making some points with the boys. But all that too was part of the learning process.

      • Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

        >> otherwise it may have been phrased: “It is not common sense to breach Hostel rules”. This would certainly have dulled the Hostel’s ability to polish its crude gems.<<

        Precisely, that's my point. Whether it was intentional or merely a natural offshoot, the dictum gave each of us the opportunity to determine for our own selves when to comply and when to step out of the box. Of course everyone knew the consequences of stepping out as you found out with that crazy fishing episode.

      • Collis "Tony" DeCoteau says:

        Remember our mandatory Saturday Night debating sessions back in the Hostel! Wouldn’t it be really nice if others would participate in your Blog to continue that tradition? We don’t have to wear a jacket to attend. We don’t have to all gather on a Saturday night in the Middle Building in order to participate. Today we are free to “attend” any time we choose. It would be so nice to read about the many fond stories, many of which like your fishing escapade, and getting six of Sarkies’ best, that I did not even know about; and I’m sure there’d be varying perspectives on this very subject of the Hostel’s rule. At this stage of our lives, we should hopefully be able to bring a more mature perspective to how we view Hostel life in retrospect. We should be talking about what made and what didn’t make sense to us, and why we violated “common sense.” We should be talking about the things that helped us shed our rough ore and let the polished metal eventually shine.
        In effect your Blog is serving as a continuation or revival if you will, of the Middle Building common room to continue, or re-live those hilarious as well as learning moments that helped us to hone our skills and shape us in the men that we are today. And lest we need to be reminded, there is no prefect to tell you should you choose to challenge anyone or anything, as “Moblie” Olivierre would have said back then, “Saga-boy, …. you self in the corner!”

        I won’t be at all surprised that whenever most old Hostel Boys meet, the subject invariably is about those good old Hostel days. Do we still want to wait to meet in person, whenever that maybe, to do that, or can’t we use your internet Blog that is like our instant Middle Building Saturday Night gathering to share those memorable and delightful moments?
        If the spate of departures lately is any indicator, we’ll realize that waiting to meet in person has a way of robbing us of prominent voices that we would have loved to hear just one more time again.

        Yes indeed Bobby >>it would be nice if other Hostel Boys would add to ours what the ‘Hostel’s “A breach of common sense is a breach of Hostel rules” meant to them then, or now.<<

        • Tony Webster says:

          Wonderful to bump into this site…memories of G.B.S.S. come flooding back. A real privilege to have been allowed on the intake of c.1953 . Many years after “escaping” in 1962, to join Barclays Bank, I was visiting a sister in Calgary , Al., and she said to me that a mutual- surprise- friend would be joining us dinner that evening. The surprise was sprung when she opened her door to Arthur Sylvester, who by then was occupying the dizzing heights of Dean of Medicine, University of Alberta at Calgary! Many reminiscences were shared, and I bemoaned the fact that all the Carriacou boys ensconced at The Hostel, had enjoyed an unfair advantage over us mainlanders, as they had gained their feared brain-power thanks to their well-known consumption of Kayak fish-head broth! Arthur tilted his head back and laughed heartily at me: He said, “Tony, fish-head both my eye! It was Paul Scoon and other hostel-masters, who just made us do the work”. Well, the mention is timely, for in three days time as I write, all GBSS old boys will shed a tear, and say a prayer, for the repose of our dearest Sir Paul, as he is laid to infinite rest…in our hearts. Godspeed, Sir Paul, Godspeed. He is survived by his dear sister , Norma, who lives in Brothers, just aback of Gouyave. She would welcome a visit and a chat, or a call, I assure you. With fondest memories, and deepest respects, to the long, long, line of student-friends, and faculty, to whom I owe a debt which I can never repay. And in particular, to the author of this lovely little site! Take a bow, Winston

  6. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of
    volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

  7. click website says:

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>