Dame Avisene Caesaretta Carrington, DA, SCM, was born in the Ivy, St. Michael to Robert and Beatrice Inniss on September 17, 1918.
From an early age Avisene Carrington had a passion for teaching, which had its origins in a divine plan that kept her in the classroom for 87 years. She was educated at the then Belmont Girls’ School and thereafter at the St. Michael’s Girls’ School. Her secondary education set her on the path to academic success and inspired a passion for teaching with emphasis on the comfort and happiness of the child.
At the end of her secondary schooling she was assigned to St. Giles Boys’ School as an honorary teacher and taught for one year before receiving a salary. She was mentored by Ignatius Byer and Glyne Atherley. Dame Avisene received her formal training at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College. She was an exceptional teacher whose signature quality was her persistence with children with learning disabilities.
When her three year old son Ian started to fuss every morning when she left for work, she made the bold decision to start a playgroup and invited her friends to send their pre-school children. No one could have imagined that the small playgroup started in 1959 would mushroom into Merrivale Preparatory School which gradually joined the ranks of one of the top private primary secondary schools in Barbados. The school also catered to students from other Caribbean territories and from countries as far afield as England, France, Scotland, Norway and Denmark.
As word of “Miss Carrington’s school” spread, the school population increased rapidly and spilled onto the verandah of her home. In the summer of 1967 a school building was erected to the east of the property; the roll peaked at 220 in the 1980s. The school was 51 years old when the bell rang for the last time in June 2010.
Awarded the Silver Crown of Merit in the Barbados Independence Honours of 1994 for her contribution to primary education in Barbados, Dame Avisene shared the accolade with her caring and loyal teaching and ancillary staff.
This “youthful” Dame is a dedicated Christian and worships at St. Cyprian Anglican Church. “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden…” and this is where she spends her time most mornings. She is still very active and she visits the market every Saturday. She is an avid reader and is an active follower of Barbadian and American politics.
Dame Avisene, has witnessed 10 decades of historical developments in Barbados and abroad. She has left an indelible impression on many Barbadians, some of whom now serve at the highest levels in Barbados.
She was married to the late Vere Carrington, Attorney-at-Law and is the mother of Ronnie, Shelley and Ian Carrington. Her only sister Constance, is still alive and is 103
The Accolade of DAME OF ST. ANDREW was conferred in recognition of her pioneering role in early childhood education, as well as her outstanding contribution to primary education in Barbados.