13 Inducted Into Women's Hall of Fame

Nov. 20, 2005 — The Virgin Islands Committee on the Status of Women recently inducted 13 women into the Virgin Islands Women's Hall of Fame in two presentations held on St. Croix. Sonia Boyce, committee chairperson, said the committee is planning follow-up activities to further showcase the honorees.
Boyce said the community was invited to nominate the honorees based on their contributions to the community. Boyce said the honorees stand as role models for the community – especially for the younger members.
"We are seeking to bridge the intergenerational divide," Boyce said. The accomplishments of these women can set an example for the younger generation and serve as a benchmark for young women to strive for personal achievement, Boyce said. Boyce noted that many of the honorees had one thing in common — they were at one time members of the Business and Professional Women's organization.
"A lot of the training these women received was through BPW," Boyce said. She said the organization helps women achieve their full potential by encouraging networking and providing leadership skills.
Boyce said the committee will continue focusing on building strong women by conducting outreach seminars at schools and other organizations with this year's honorees.
Inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame were:
— Ruth Beagles, retired professor of education at the University of the Virgin Islands. She served as secretary of the fourth V.I. Constitutional Convention
— Maria Cabret, first female presiding judge of the USVI Territorial Court now know as the Superior Court.
— Donna M. Christiansen, first female Virgin Islands delegate to congress and first female physician in the history of the U.S. Congress. Christensen is also the first woman delegate to represent an off-shore territory.
— Cora Christian, first native female to become a medical doctor, Christian developed the Frederiksted Health Center. She is also founder of the VI Medical Institute. She is a member of AARP's national Board of Directors and chef medical consultant at Hovensa LLC
— Delta Dorch, renowned storyteller. She served as an educator and administrator in the VI school system for more then 38 years. She was also an instructor of elementary education at UVI.
— Clema Lewis, co-director of the Woman's Coalition, a St. Croix based organization serving the needs of abused women and their families. Lewis has been a community activist pursuing advancement of women's rights
— Mary Mingus, co-director of the Woman's Coalition, a St. Croix based organization serving the needs of abused women and their families. Mingus has also pursued the advancement of women's rights
— Eileen Petersen, first female judge of the then VI Municipal Court, which later became the Territorial and is now the Superior Court. Petersen is the first chairperson of the VI Casino Control Commission and the first female member of the VI Council of the Boy Scouts of America. She has been an advocate for women's and children's rights
— Eulalie Rivera. In 1974, the Grove place school was named in her honor for her contributions to the teaching profession. She is a community activist and charter member of the VI Federation of Business and Professional Women's Organization
Posthumously:
— Elena Christian, educator who devoted 54 years to educating children in the Virgin Islands. In 1980 the Christiansted Junior High school was renamed in her honor for her years of dedicated service. She was a leader in many community organizations, including the VI Commission on the Aged
— Ansetta "Miss Annie" Muckle de Chabert, a business woman, real estate developer and philanthropist. She was the original owner and developer of the Sunny Isles Shopping Center — the first shopping center on St. Croix.
–Ruby M. Rouss, first female president of the VI Legislature. She was also the first Virgin Islands female to serve in the U.S. Armed Services where she served as an aide to Gen, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Rouss was also the first female probation officer in the territory.
— Queen Mary Thomas, leader of the St. Croix labor revolt of 1878, later know as the Fireburn of 1878. The Danish government honored her, 25 years later, with a coin in her likeness.
A similar ceremony will be held in St. Thomas on Dec. 3. The ceremonies took place at Government House in St. Croix on Friday. High School students read biographies of the honorees at the morning ceremony, which began at 9 a.m. and was open to the public.
At the evening ceremony, which began at 7 p.m. and was by invitation only, the honorees were formally inducted into the Hall of Fame by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
The VI Commission on the Status on Women was created years ago, but no women were ever nominated.
The commission started seeking nominations in May.
Earlier this month Turnbull appointed four new members to the commission.
(See "Turnbull Nominates One Man, Four Women.")

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