BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - TWO members of the Newtown community were on Saturday (Sept. 29) awarded for their hard work and dedication to the community as well as the positive examples they have and continue to set for the community's youths over the years.
The two members were awarded with plaques at the Miss East Pearl Cultural Pageant on Saturday which signaled the end of the month-long community festival.
The awardees were:
1. Mrs. Gwendolyn Natta who is a Dominican by birth. She is a graduate of Portsmouth Government School and Wesley High School, having excelled at here before she became a Pupil Teacher at the St. John’s Parochial Primary School in 1973.
Mrs. Natta continued her teaching career in St. Kitts when she walked through the gates of the Newtown Primary School in 1980. She became a trained teacher in 1984 after successful completion of her studies at the St. Kitts Teachers’ College. She was an active member of the St. Kitts Teachers’ Union and served as its Treasurer for a number of years.
During her almost 30 years of dedication to educating and empowering the nation’s youth, Mrs. Natta also taught at the Epworth/Maurice Hillier Memorial School and Beach Allen Primary School before retiring from active teaching service in 2009.
She is an avid netballer and continues to coach, train and manage netballers and teams. She trained and continues to train netballers primary and high schools students in track and field disciplines.
Mrs. Natta is a certified netball umpire and an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Level 1 Qualified Technical Officer. She has also served as Treasurer on several executives of the St. Kitts Netball and St. Kitts-Nevis Netball Associations.
Her love of children and teaching motivated her to establish the “Newtown Activity Garden” at the Newtown Community Centre in 2009 which offers primary school students a place to come for daily after school tutoring, help with homework, reading skills assistance and fun and games.
Mrs. Natta provides this vital service free of charge to children from around the Newtown area. She also held the post of Coordinator for the Pilgrim Pre-School from 2010-2011.
Mrs. Natta has served as a facilitator of the A Ganar Programme, a youth workforce development programme inspired by legendary footballer Pelee, at Basseterre High, Verchilds High and Cayon High Schools along with Project Strong and National Skills Training since January 2012.
Mrs. Natta is a:
• Qualified mentor of the Caribbean Healthy Lifestyles Project since 2004,
• Executive member of the women’s group -- Promoting Equality in Politics (PEP) since 2005, and
• Founding member of the St. Kitts Dyslexic Association Mrs. Natta has received several awards for her dedication to youth, education, sports and community advancement. She is the recipient of the:
• East Basseterre Labour Outstanding Contribution in Education and Sports Award (1994),
• New Town Primary School Dedication to Sports & School Activities Award (1997),
• Caribbean Healthy Lifestyles Project Volunteerism Award (2004),
• St. Kitts Teachers’ Union Mary Charles-George Award (2004), and Tucker-Clarke Primary School Award for Dedication to the Teaching Profession (2006)
• Independence Community Award (2012)
Mrs. Natta is a paragon of virtue, civic mindedness and excellence. She is an active member, leader and mentor in her church—Beacon of Hope Kingdom Community. She remains humble and steadfast in her service of her community. She is a mother, friend, humanitarian and community activist.
“We rarely walk with mommy because it takes us forever to reach our destination. Someone stops her with every few steps to show her love or thank her for helping them in some way,” said her children. “Great’ does not even begin to describe her value.”
2. Charles McMaster who for nearly four decades has contributed time, energy and talent through service, goodwill and generosity to the Newtown community and the Federation on a whole. The lives of many in these communities have been touched in some way or fashion by this individual.
This quiet skipper, taught, trained and exposed many to mind altering experiences, molding them to be the best one could be. With an unassuming demeanor, politeness, manners, friendliness and confidence, he has welcomed, greeted and embraced all who have crossed his path.
Today, one can see the fruits of his labour if they just looked around the community. Like a parent and as a parent he has denied himself comfort so that many could be included. On many public holidays, he takes his boys and girls on a hike, or to the beach to enjoy and learn to swim, on boat rides journeying to the neighbouring islands; Nevis, Anguilla, St Martin, and Montserrat, for many, a first.
None would forget their experiences of sleeping under the stars separated only by a canvas. Cultural, historic, social, spiritual and educational pursuits were not lost.
By now all are convinced that his love for young people, outdoor activities and the Boy Scout uniform are real and tangible, and if there is any doubt, he is the only man in the federation known to have adorned his marriage ceremony with the Boy Scout uniform.
The Newtown community is thankful for the unselfish and lifelong contribution of their beloved son of the soil, Charles McMaster, forever young.
Natta was awarded for her dedication to youth, education, sports and community advancement while McMaster was awarded for his positive, unselfish and lifelong contribution to the Newtown community.