Hurricane Devastation in Dominica: The New Normal? Responsibilities?

October 18, 2018 :: Steve Hypolite and Maurice Hollingsworth
Moderated by Bev Muendel-Atherstone

With 260 km/h maximum sustained wind speeds, Category 5 Hurricane Maria tore through Dominica on September 18, 2017, causing mass destruction and directly affecting some 73,000 people (the entire population). Sixty-five deaths in Dominica were attributed to Hurricane Maria. Critical infrastructure - including schools, hospitals, electrical lines, houses, public buildings and government offices, and private structures key to the economy and people’s livelihoods - was significantly damaged. Beyond the immediate impact in Dominica, the 2017 hurricane season highlighted existing gaps in the overall disaster preparedness and resilience levels - as well as forcing queries on north/south responsibilities.

Mr. Hypolite and his school, Castle Bruce Secondary School, survived Maria – the tenth most intensive Atlantic hurricane on record. However, the results and challenges, including on the education system, were dramatic. Not only were buildings fully lost or significantly damaged, virtually all educational resources were consumed by Maria and its aftermath.

The IT for Dominica Foundation (, an Alberta-based program has been working with the Miinstry of Education in the Commonwealth of Dominica for nearly 20 years supporting educators in integrating information technology (IT) into classroom settings. This has occurred through provision of technologies (in the early 2000s), installation, technical supports, and professional development. The program has recently increased its efforts in the interest of student learning post Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria has highlighted key questions, “What is our responsibility as northern neighbours – and possibly as creators of global warming/climate change – in supporting southern neighbours who face the wrath of warming ocean temperatures?” The speakers will address the issues at hand.

Speakers: Steve Hypolite and Maurice Hollingsworth

Steve Hypolite is Principal of Castle Bruce Secondary School, one of fifteen secondary schools in the Commonwealth of Dominica. His progressive approaches to school leadership has led to implementing change through UNICEF’s Child Friendly School (CFS) and he is now working closely with the IT for Dominica Foundation and the Alberta Technology Leaders in Education. Mr Hypolite hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Administration (UWI 2010) and a Master Degree in Educational Leadership (UWI 2016).

Maurice Hollingsworth completed his Ph.D. in information technology in education and has worked throughout the education system - K-12 teacher, district administrator, provincial advisor and university faculty member - bringing meaning to learning technologies in classrooms. He is President of the IT for Dominca Foundation and has led IT for Dominica for the past 19 years.

Moderator: Bev Muendel-Atherstone

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2018
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, Presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required

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