By Brereton Horne
Drury Lane in London, and in particular the Theatre Royal at Covent Garden, was abuzz with on Sunday as thousands of celebrants including teachers, friends, television and sporting personalities (including Mo Farrah the double Olympic champion at the London Olympics 2012) and well-wishers gathered to witness the presentation ceremony of the Pearson Teaching Awards UK 2013.
As Vincentians, my wife, Andrea, and I were proud to be a part of the audience and the contingent of cheering supporters on behalf of Anoria Simmons hoping that she wins the award for the category of The Primary School Teacher of the Year.
We were not disappointed. She won!
She dedicated the award to the pupils, teachers and parents of her school, The Devonshire Hill Primary School, Tottenham, London, who all showered her with adulation and praise for her outstanding work.
Anoria, who originally hails from Spring Village in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) migrated to the UK with her husband and family in the 1990s when her husband, Andrew Simmons, was posted to work at the Commonwealth Office in London. I listened and basked in nostalgia and beamed with pride as Anoria told of the experience and skills she gained as a teacher whilst teaching in SVG before she migrated to the UK. The moment was nostalgic because I remember when she, her husband, Andrew and I were all young teachers in training at the Teachers’ College at Arnos Vale in SVG (Andrew and I subsequently went different went pathways, he to youth, community development and environmental control and I to law). Anoria spoke with eloquence and confidence when she was being interviewed upon receiving the award, which incidentally will be televised on BBC Television here in the UK next Sunday.
The award is even more special when one takes into account the rigorous nomination and selection process that Anoria endured and came out victorious. There were 24,000 nominations throughout England, Scotland and Wales who were nominated in 10 different categories. That number of 24,000 was eventually whittled down to 66 on the day. Surely this is a wow moment for Anoria, her family, and all Vincentians that she has been bestowed this honour. She is the Primary School Teacher of the year in the UK for 2013. Incidentally, I cannot end without mentioning that Anoria’s husband, Andrew, was at Buckingham Palace on Friday when he was being recognised and thanked by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his outstanding service and contribution to the Commonwealth in the area of youth and community development and environment control. The achievements of the members of the Simmons household are even more poignant as we near the 34th anniversary of the independence of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Blessings are flowing in the Simmons’ household and as a consequence upon us all as Vincentians. Let us as all congratulate them for their achievements and be a part of the positivity as we all look forward to Oct. 27 — the 34th anniversary of Independence of our blessed nation.