'Auntie Comsee' graduates at 79

Stabroek News
June 13, 1999

Proving that you are never too old to learn, popular Guyanese raconteur and folklorist Pauline Thomas--Auntie Comsee--is graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree this week.

Thomas, 79, will be conferred with her degree during graduation ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at Convocation Hall.

Pauline Thomas

"It's a fulfilling experience for me because I was surprised at what both my strengths and shortcomings were during the programme," said Thomas of her five-year higher learning stint. "I also learned that one should always keep an open mind."

Thomas was prodded to embark on the program by her only daughter, Dawn McKenzie-Williams, who is a teacher at Wexford Collegiate.

"She would always tell me that I could make it in that environment despite my protestations that I thought I was too old for that," related Thomas.

"But, I eventually took up her challenge and am happy for that."

Both mother and daughter represented Guyana at Expo '67 in Montreal. Thomas was part of the Guyana Police Force choir, while McKenzie-Williams was an interpretative dancer.

Thomas eventually migrated to Canada in 1980 and has contributed immensely to the enrichment and promotion of Guyanese culture.

Always insisting that "Creolese dialect must be kept alive", Thomas revels in providing enjoyment for others.

Not content with sitting on her degree, Thomas--an accomplished singer--plans to enroll in the Royal Conservatory of Music next semester to enhance her voice.

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples