Debbie Augustin’s flying high.She has left an indelible mark at the Saint Lucia Sports Academy (SSA) and her name will be uttered by those before her, and those after her, years after she’s graduated. The fifth form student is the winner of the school’s crest competition; it’s an incredible accomplishment for the 17-year-old and a victory that’s well-deserved.
But she never saw it coming.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win,” she said to us in an interview on Tuesday, March 3.
“My cousin was taking part in the competition so I was like ‘I don’t want to go up against him because I know he will win’and he did two designs. I was afraid because I never really went against him in anything,” she added.
Her cousin Arthur-Lee Williams, also a SSA student, has been described as a “child prodigy” by some and is undeniably talented. He was the feature artist at a recent art exhibition (Sent Lisi An Tan Lontan) and his portraits of Saint Lucia’s Nobel Laureates, Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott has been shared over 5000 times on Facebook.
In the end, Debbie decided to take on her beloved cousin.
“Ok, we’ll see,” he said when she informed him.
“When they said my name I was like ‘What? Really?’And then he watched me, I watched him and then we just started laughing,” she said fondly.
She had less than a day to prepare but she decided to enter the competition nonetheless.
“The deadline was on a Monday at 3:00 p.m. and I took part that Monday morning. I was surprised when my friends told me because I thought I had two weeks; it was one week. I asked my teacher to take the period off and she said ok. I wanted to doit because it’s my last year and also because I never really showed that talent at school.”
Her first design fell flat. Her friends rejected it and asked her to try again.
“They didn’t like it.I had a circle as the crest but it didn’t have the trophy and the sportsmen that the new design has. It had the Pitons, a book, bat and ball, but then the football players told me I have to put something for them and the swimmers said the same thing too—I had to capture everything. I was wondering how I would do that and then when I went on Google I got some little men (sportsmen)and then I was like ‘oh I’ll put that there.’ My TD teacher Mr. Desslar St. Rose was the one who sent me the pictures of the men actually,” she shared.
“I decided to use the shape of my primary school’s crest in the end.I thought about different things; since it’s a sports school I looked at our heritage site the Pitons; the trophy represented the excellence in sports and the book on the crest represented our academics. My homeroom teacher Miss Cerally Marius helped me with the motto.She told me you have to persevere in order to succeed and if you do everything with excellence then you must succeed,” Debbie added.
And so the new motto “perseverance,excellence and success” was born.
Her mother, of course, is more than proud of her only daughter.
“My mother was happy becauseI only drew at home. I used to draw all over my bedroom door and she would tell me that’s not the place to draw. I would also draw for her because she’s a pre-school teacher but I never really did anything at school. I only did it in forms 1 and 2 because I was doing Visual Arts and after that I just stopped. I was just drawing little things in a book and things like that,” she revealed.
Once a “troublesome” little girl, Debbie is now focused and hopes to become a counsellor.
Her advice to students?
“Be yourself. Even if you have to lose friends that would be better for you, because when you leave school and others are working and you’re just there that’s not a nice thing.”
This sports lover has a bright future ahead of her. Although art is “in her blood”, she says it’s not her passion. Debbie simply wants to make a career out of helping others.
“My passion is to become a counsellor. I like helping people; elderly people, teenagers— I just really like helping people.”
When she’s not doing the aforementioned, she’s either playing video games, reading, listening to music, or enjoying her own company.