Icelyn Russell Cate
In 1973, one month after celebrating my country's independence from Britain, I was on my way from the Bahamas to the USA . I felt like a pioneer. No one had heard of a "Licenciada." Everyone from my high school graduating class scoffed at my choice. They were all taking the traditional route to guarantee forging those bright, promising, ambassadorial careers. It was either, England , Jamaica or Canada.
My arrival in San Francisco, in a sunny tropical attire, exposed my naivety, but confirmed that I had made a wise decision. Over the next next four years, "The Covell Experience" with its rich diversity, transformed the mindset of a young 17 yr old, British, Caribbean island girl into that of global citizenry.
Covell College, for me, was the closest thing to a foreign exchange program. It
became my incubator. It was a small, safe haven for me to grow; yet culturally rich enough for me to appreciate a world of plurality. Now more than 30 yrs later, I fully realize the pivotal importance of my choice to attend this institution. Covell was not a gumbo, but a good model that nurtured creative thinking. From its dining hall to its classrooms, Covell was always for me a rich cross fertilization of creative dialog.
A welcomed change from a smaller, narrower mindset, this intercultural exchange also became for me a very rigid discipline. I still remember the traumatizing effect of receiving my first and only ' D ' in a subject called GOBIERNOS AMERICANOS. In spite of lots of tears, I made up my mind to fully comprehend this inter-american experience I had signed up for. I still call it my life defining 'D', and will always associate, and appreciate Dr. Pippin with the lesson gleaned. It was here that I learned that "failure is not defeat." I still draw on that exhilarating moment, when in my senior year, I was able to extract an 'A' in another related course from the same said professor.
Today my husband, Christopher and I, enjoy a life of many challenges. We are both ministers of the Gospel with a bi-racial, blended family. Our 6 Yuppie, Guppy, Generations X any Y children range in age from 34-17yrs. My greatest joy was becoming a grandmother two years ago. My precious, precocious granddaughter reminds me of how important my baby boomer reach is.
Although after graduation we both worked in the Bahamas and London in marketing management positions, social work is our life passion. Christopher and I are active in HIV/ AIDS initiatives and community compassion outreach. I am currently in Hallandale, Florida, involved in social marketing. My work takes me from the pulpit, to the streets, to the businesses, to assist disenfranchised residents make the transition back to economic recovery. To attract the big to the rich development of small local talent; yet producing a synergy that makes us mindful that there is room for us all. My Licenciado in Business Admin and Inter-American studies, opened my mind to this opportunity.
Where there is polarity, there will always be conflict. Let's continue to promote the idea of taking our cross cultural, Spanglish experience to a new level. We are an informal Covell think tank.Our valuable partnerships have helped forged a clearer appreciation of common global problems. The benefit of my multicultural experience has made me realize that it is only in the pursuit of fullness of my spirituality that I can envision truth. Covell for me was the beginning of my pathway to appreciating a society of inclusion, where together we make each other better.