Dear Editor: “Dominican stands ever fair in towering majesty, Queen of the hosts of learning, long years may she ever be…” were the opening lines of our school song.
I read recently in The Tablet that the palatial building that housed Dominican Commercial H.S. in Jamaica, from 1936 to 1998, will be sold. Funds from the sale will be used to subsidize the retirement of the Dominican Sisters.
This is a personal tragedy to all of her graduates; a piece of history will cease to exist. In its hallowed halls, we received not simply an education but a preparation for life. The school had a reputation for molding young women for the business world, more recently for college but always for Christian wives, others, and citizens.
With the Dominican Sisters at the helm, our large student body was inclusive of each other years before it was politically correct to espouse this philosophy. The sisters taught us not only academics but that caring beyond ourselves was part of a happy and holy existence.
After the school closed in 1998, I was happy to know that the Sisters were still using the building to run the Benincasa Foundation, which covered a wide variety of Community projects. During a visit to Benincasa, I was pleased to find out that many of the beauties of the building remained: our chapel, the mahogany banisters and the rand staircase leading to the gym where we practiced our entrance to the senior prom.
It saddens m greatly that our stately building may now be demolished to make way for condos or fast food establishments. I am sure it was not an easy decision to relinquish this treasure. No one deserves a quality retired life more than the good Dominican Sisters. I only wish there was another way.
The school song continues: “We crown her with wreaths of laurel as we sing to her our praises, Dominican alma mater, pride of our high school days.”
This is one of those times when I treasure the gift of memory.