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They came to bury 'Sir Elwin' and to praise him.

Dozens of former students, many fellow educators, more than two room-fulls of friends and colleagues and relatives came to say farewell to "Sir Elwin", the beloved and strict principal of the St. Mary's Academy (SMA).

On Wednesday, his mortal remains were buried at the Roman Catholic cemetery, a place so close to the SMA, the powdery chalk dust from 'Sir Elwin's' blackboard must have settled there. Or the visitors or residents there could have heard his booming voice sometimes. Probably not.

Cuthbert Elwin was the principal of the SMA, a Catholic all-boys school, for 13 years but he taught there for many more years. In his homily at the funeral mass, Gabriel Malzaire, Sir Elwin's boss and the Bishop of Roseau, described the deceased SMA principal as a tower of strength.

"His imposing stature will be missed," Bishop Malzaire said.

"(He left behind) huge footprints," said a mourner who was obviously not referring to Elwin's shoe size but his influence at the SMA. In any case Elwin may have left actual large footprints because he could have been a giant NBA power forward wearing size 16 Nikes. He was very tall and his shoes were huge.

One thing is sure. Elwin's successor will struggle to fill Sir Elwin's shoes, physically or otherwise. And there has been some speculation as to who that person could be.

The names of the former principal of the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) principal, Simeon Joseph, and that of educator Ronald Isidore may be on the list. We were not able to speak to Joseph but Isidore refrained from commenting. However, Bishop Malzaire said finding the next SMA principal could be a drawn-out process.

"I don't know how soon the post will be filled...if it comes quick then ok. Sometimes you have to go on a great search," he said.

Bishop Malzaire hopes that whoever is selected will take up the job where Sir Elwin left, moulding and shaping SMA into a "model education institution on the island".


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