“We Story” The Collection presents, Ms. Browllia Florencia Maillard “A Special Teacher”

PHILIPSBURG – In the spirit of Black History Month and as Sint Maarten continues to
acknowledge its rich, and diverse heritage, the Ministry of Education Culture Youth and
Sport (MECYS) is unveiling “We Story” The Collection. “We Story” is a compilation of
newly and previously written profiles/features (by cited & acknowledged authors) on
prominent and well-known past and current educators, artists, sports icons and
community pioneers that have contributed to Sint Maarten and its diaspora.
In this feature, written by the late Neville York former Department Head of Culture,
which appeared in the St. Maarten Cultural Calendar 2013, focus will be placed on the
contributions of Ms. Browllia Florencia Maillard.
“God has given us many treasures over the years. Along came a teacher, not any
ordinary teacher but a “Special Teacher” who stood out stately as a palm tree blowing in
the wind of our minds. All students who were genuinely touched by her had one
common thought of their teacher student relationship; “she took time with us, molded
our minds so patiently, she instructed by example and gave her time unselfishly. At
times, she was more than a teacher: she was a “Special Teacher”.
The late Browllia Florencia Maillard known as “Teacher”, touched many and helped to
shape the lives of hundreds of children during her lifetime. She was a nurturer, a mother
figure, a motivator, a disciplinarian, a teacher and a pioneer in the field of education. In
everything that she did, her love, particularly her love of children was evident.
Ms. Browllia was born on St. Maarten on January 21, 1902. Ms. Browllia was a
kindergarten teacher. She taught for 26 years. In 1920, she started the school that later
became known as the Princess Beatrix Kleuter School. Located in the Brick Building on
the grounds of the Methodist Church. That school is today name the Methodist Agogic
Centre. Ms. Browllia was more than just a teacher, she was a philanthropist. She
managed the school with her own money for many years. She was a volunteer and
received no salary. Thelma Gumbs, the former Superintendent of the Sunday School at
the Methodist Church, said in an interview that Ms. Browllia would send her own money
to her sisters who lived in the United States, and her sisters would purchase material for
her to use in the school. She made sacrifices like that, because she truly loved children
and wanted to ensure that they would receive a good education. Ms. Browllia taught

two kindergarten grades, Little Chick and Big Chick. Once a student completed Big Chick,
they were ready to enter the first grade.
Ms. Browllia’s contributions to the field of education did not go without recognition.
Princess Beatrix honored Ms. Browllia by attending a ceremony and laying the first brick,
which symbolized the beginning of construction of the Princess Beatrix Kleuter School.
Ms. Browllia also received a Royal Decoration from Queen Juliana. Ms. Browllia has also
been paid tribute by the Methodist Agogic Centre that has a campus on St. John’s Estate
named in her honor. Ms. Browllia is a true St. Maarten heroine, with a legacy that will
continue to inspire generations to come.”
The Ministry of Education Culture Youth and Sport (MECYS) will continue to add to the
collection as information is researched and compiled from new and historical sources.