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Naps principal Carolyn Bally-Gosine shares Secrets to success
Carolyn Bally-Gosine is the first past student of Naparima Girls’ High School to become principal of her alma mater. Bally-Gosine, an unassuming but powerful principal of one of the country’s most prestigious schools, is proud of her successes at the institution and her plans to embellish the rich legacy that she contributed to and has now inherited. She credits her success in education to the profound impact of her parents, retired principal Jairam and retired teacher Rose Bally. Her father started off his career as a Latin and English teacher at Presentation College, San Fernando, where he had the privilege of teaching President Anthony Carmona. Jairam Bally later retired as principal of Vessigny Government Secondary School. She is in awe of the fact that her father, in all his 83 years, never raised his voice but always communicated in a soft-spoken yet firm manner, and he was able to win the hearts of all the people he dealt with.
Her mother took early retirement from her teaching career and became a part-time florist. She was then able to be the major support for her family while her children pursued their education and careers. Bally-Gosine’s parents instilled the values of being God-fearing, dedicated and resourceful individuals who should follow their calling in life. She has one brother, Keith, a geologist and vice-president–reservoir development–bpTT. She credits the success of her family to the intricate network that allows them to spend time (both quantity and quality) with each other—constantly communicating, celebrating special moments and sharing joys and challenges. Bally-Gosine confides that the secret to a happy family life is spending time together, talking about the day’s events and everything else. She also said it was about everyone being supportive of each other, giving advice and praying together at home and at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church.
Her husband of 30 years is Anil Gosine, CEO of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA). She credits much of her success to his unswerving support and encouragement. Her first daughter Dr Malini Gosine is employed at the San Fernando General Hospital, and her other daughter, Kailash, is a medical student at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Mt Hope. Both children are graduates of Naparima Girls’ High School, fondly called “Naps.”
A big milestone in her career
For Bally-Gosine, her new role as principal is a big milestone in her career. As part of her academic philosophy, she sees music as addressing both the “emotional and intellectual development.” She started playing the piano at the age of six, and this enabled her to become more disciplined, organised and gifted with the ability to read music and play by ear. At the age of 12, she played the organ at the church. Bally-Gosine now trains the Susamachar Presbyterian Church Chorale and plays the piano, pipe organ and keyboard for all of their major functions. She plays for the worship and assemblies at Naps and even assists the music teacher when there is a need. Her personal philosophy is “integrity leads to character and character leads to the development of the whole person.” She admonishes parents, especially mothers to stay close to their daughters. She emphasises that they should “create a harmonious and comfortable environment where children can voice their concerns instead of listening to their inexperienced peers. Always keep the communication lines open.” She sees children as being better able to navigate the challenges of life if they can discuss issues with their parents/guardians. She quietly admonishes that peers, shows in the media and addiction to technology can often mislead children as they can inculcate the wrong value systems. She heaped kudos on her predecessors and colleagues who all played a vital role in shaping, supporting and nurturing young, impressive minds to be well-rounded, balanced and focused individuals.
Apart from academics, Naparima Girls’ High School has over 36 diverse extra-curricular activities including judo, music, photography, drama, scrabble, chess. Bally-Gosine is grateful that the school (with a population of 784 girls) is not faced with bullying, violence or any major indiscipline issues. Any problems detected are nipped in the bud to ensure that the students function optimally. She divulged that morning devotions at assembly is an excellent forum where teachers and students share uplifting messages and songs that transmit deep positive values. Students who score 75 per cent and above are all presented with Certificates of Commendation as a form of motivation to excel. Other accomplishments are also recognised in front of staff and peers at assembly, and other awards functions. The school celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. As part of her own initiative, she plans to reinstate and refurbish the live-in dormitory to assist students with extenuating circumstances—transport woes, etc. This project will mark what can be considered her most major contribution to the college. Some of the greatest heroes in her life are the late Rev Allison Ken Nobbee, former principal of Naps, the late Beulah Meghu, former principals Mavis Lee Wah as well as Jean Bahadur. She describes Mrs Meghu as “a distinguished lady with a formidable appearance but a sparkling twinkle in her eyes. She knew the names of every single girl in the school and many emulated her elegance, grace and integrity.” To date the school has attained 398 scholarships, five President’s Medals (at A-Levels) and nine at O-Levels. She commended the Ministry of Education, the Presbyterian Board, the dedicated staff at the school, the industrious Parents’ Action Committee, the Naparima Girls’ High School Alumnae Association, the corporate community and all well-wishers who remain committed to ensuring that the school continues to embody excellence in all of its undertakings.
She attended Grant Memorial Presbyterian, Naparima Girls’ High School, and she graduated from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, with a BSc in Botany and Zoology and Diploma in Education.
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