The 18th V.I. Board of Education (VIBE) commemorates the birthdates of two icons of Virgin Islands education, Yvonne E. Bowsky and Gladys A. Abraham.
The board believes it is important to recognize and commemorate those persons who have shaped the educational process in the territory. Often, generations of our children pass through these public schools and have no idea who the buildings were named after or why. The board is attempting to provide a sense of history and assure our children that affording them a quality education was a conscious decision that was made many years before they were born.
Yvonne E. Bowsky was born on Tortola on Oct. 15, 1934. At the age of 14, she became a first-grade teacher at the Jost Van Dyke’s Methodist Primary School but later moved to St. Thomas where she resided for a short time. In order to complete her high school education, Bowsky studied in New York for a short time. She later returned to St. Thomas where she began her 32-year teaching career at Joseph Sibilly Elementary School. She continued her education at the College of the Virgin Islands and received a scholarship to attend New York University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1968.
After working four years at the Charlotte Amalie High School, she was appointed as assistant principal of Ulla Muller Elementary School. She received her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from New York University in 1972. In August of 1973, she was tasked with the project of creating a new school by Commissioner of Education Harold Haizlip. Today that school is known as the Yvonne E. Bowsky Elementary School.
Among her other accomplishments, Bowsky was also employed at the College of the Virgin Islands as a part-time instructor. She also taught at the Adult Continuing Education Program for 20 years. As the elected president of the Administrator’s Association in 1977, she was able to negotiate their first contract. Presently, she is the CEO of Bowsky Auto Sales and Rental Inc.
VIBE asks that the public join it in remembering Yvonne E. Bowsky’s many contributions and in honoring her.
Gladys A. Abraham was born on St. Thomas on Oct. 11, 1922. She attended the Nisky School on St. Thomas and later graduated from the Charlotte Amalie High School. Soon after, she was employed as a temporary teacher by the V.I. Department of Education, where she was assigned to the George Washington School in 1944. In 1946, Abraham was awarded a permanent license to teach in the Virgin Islands. In 1953, she received her bachelor of science degree from New York University majoring in elementary education.
In 1956, Abraham was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to India where she spent a year studying sociology at Bombay University and visiting villages, schools and other institutions. She completed the requirements for a Master of Arts in Psychology and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1962. During the 1959-1960 school year, she was appointed as principal teacher at what is now the Joseph Sibilly Elementary School. She was then made the assistant principal at the Lockhart Elementary School where she worked as such from 1962-1970. In 1970, she became the first principal of the new school in Kirwan Terrace.
The board asks that the public join in remembering Gladys Abraham’s contributions and in honoring her memory.
The members of VIBE stand on the shoulders of these icons of education and feel they are due recognition and to be commemorated in the month of their births.