Stand Tall In Your Shoes

May 12, 2023

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I have been reminiscing about my Mother, Claudia Creque, and her life. My Mother was the Principal of the Anegada School in the Virgin Islands (British), now the Claudia Creque Educational Centre (the “School”), for 30 years.  In 1981, due to her efforts, a complete five-year secondary programme was started at the School, offering students a comprehensive secondary education. As a result, Anegada students benefit from secondary education. Furthermore, this move allows for the students to not only receive a complete secondary education, but they can write external examinations such as the Caribbean Examinations Council exams. Before 1981, only the children of parents who could afford to send their children abroad or to Tortola received a complete secondary education. In 2007 my Mother was awarded Member of the British Empire (MBE). In 2008, the Government of the Virgin Islands renamed the School in her honour to the Claudia Creque Educational Centre. Although these achievements are substantial, they do not stand out most when I look at her life as Mother’s Day approaches. 


You see, my Mother was less than five (5) feet tall, in my estimation, approximately four (4) feet, 10 inches (I am taller than she was, I am five feet. Yes, I am showing off). What is outstanding to me is the story she told me regarding her height, and while others would see her height as a disadvantage, she did not embrace that concept. Despite her stature, I never saw her back down from a parent, some unruly child who towered above her, or the powers that be who believed that the students in Anegada, based on the size of the class, did not deserve the various privileges the students in the rest of the BVI were enjoying. I grew up hearing people call my Mother “Shorty”, a nickname that never bothered or deterred her from her purpose or mission. She was determined to ensure the students of Anegada received the best. A few years ago, she shared with me that she never saw herself as short until every day, on her walk to or from school, a gentleman (who shall remain nameless) started greeting her,  “Hello, Shorty”. After being greeted in this manner a few times, she said to herself, “Well, I must be short for true.” Only then did she realise or was made conscious of her height. She said before this incident, she always felt like she was tall. 


My Mother would have aborted her purpose on earth had she internalised that being less than average height somehow marginalised her or disadvantaged her, or she had to fight harder to gain respect from students or government officials due to her size. Unfortunately, too many people are stuck and are not fulling their destinies because someone told them that, due to their uniqueness, they could not measure up or that the wider community, business or otherwise, would never accept them. As a result, they cannot move forward to live their version of a fulfilling life.

I am proud of my Mother, Claudia Creque, for standing tall in her shoes and fighting fiercely to accomplish all that she did, not for herself but for the students and people of Anegada to receive a quality education. I pray that my Mother’s story will inspire you to realise your potential, rise above the limiting beliefs and conquer the space and place God Almighty has assigned you. May you also stand tall in your shoes.


Monica S. Creque is a Certified Life Breakthrough Coach who helps ambitious women who have settled for less than they deserve to regain momentum to pursue their dreams and live their definition of a fulfilling life. 

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