LEGAL LUMINARY MENTOR 2021 - BARBADOS
Gabrielle Gay is an avid reader by profession. At the tender age of five she had read most of the beloved classics e.g. Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the Royal Readers etc. By the age of 10 years old, she captivated the nation with her logical and intelligent opinion on the Voice of Barbados Call In Programme ‘Thomas on Thursday’ hosted by Thomas “Tom” Fields, where she was fondly known as ‘Tom’s Gabby’, later being honoured as the “Outstanding Child of the Year”; on V.O.B. 92.9 FM. She also was active in her church activities at this young age, preaching at various churches throughout the island and singing with her church’s Hosanna Chorale. Gabrielle Gay is the daughter of David and Margaret Gay, who are both Medical Professionals. She attended the private schools of the Seventh Day Adventist Primary and Secondary. At 13 years old she sat her first Caribbean Examination Council’s exam, attaining a Grade 1 with a distinction in the subject of English Language. By the age of 15, she achieved the remainder of her CXC and A Level subjects with distinction. She entered the Barbados Community College to study English Literature and Sociology. Her academic prowess continued when she attained the highest grade point average in English Literature in the college. For this achievement, she along with three others, received the John Wickham Scholarship for Excellence in English Literature. That same week, she also won the National Youth Award for Community Service from the Ministry of Education for her Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Programme. She is also the JCI Barbados National Public Speaking Champion 2017. Ms. Gabrielle Gay is an avid Third Year Bachelors of Law Student at the University of the West Indies Cavehill Campus. Gabrielle founded the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Mentorship Programme at just 13 years old, in just five schools by patiently saving up her meager allowance.
It developed quickly over the past decade; now implemented in over 118 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across Barbados, the Caribbean, and the world. The Programme promotes Literacy and Mental Health via their Awards, coupled with reading and Leadership Mentorship sessions in schools. It partners with Learning Psychologists to mentor remedial readers and give parents assistance, NGOs, and corporate entities to donate books for libraries. The Programme pays school tuitions, and buys uniforms and shoes for students in Africa, Asia and the Pacific: (Sierra Leone, India, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Malawi, and Vanuatu!) The Programme is the first, longest running and most awarded of its kind in Barbados and the Caribbean. It is the only Barbadian Education Programme in the country’s entire 54 year history, to be honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in the prestigious 2018 Queens Young Leaders Award Programme for its pioneering work in Education across the Commonwealth. Gabrielle Gay made history in 2020 as the first ever and only Barbadian to be selected as a certified World Literacy Foundation Ambassador: chosen from among 4,800 shortlisted applicants of the best in Literacy worldwide. She partnered with the World Literacy Foundation to reach and lift over 400,000 children out of poverty via Education. Nationally; it is also the first and only Education Programme to be honoured by the government of Barbados in 2009 with a National Youth Award for exemplary service to the community. Her record breaking contributions to Education and history continue; as in 2018 The Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Bachelors of Literatures in English became the first ever award for the Bachelors Degree in Literatures in English, in the seventy year history of the University of The West Indies Cavehill Campus. It also is the only award for the Major of English Literature at the Barbados Community College.Therefore, effectively becoming the highest ranking award programme for Literatures in English in Barbados. The Programme is also the largest of its kind: with Global and Regional project partners and implementation in the Caribbean and every continent of the world. She has since commenced two new programmes: The Femme Lex and Femme STEM Cohorts, where young women from Small Island Developing States, developing countries, and marginalised communities in developed countries: are given access to certified mentorship, mental health, education, internship and advancement opportunities in the fields of Law and STEM. Established and launched in September 2o21, these programmes are the first ever of their kind in Barbados and implemented regional territories! Gabrielle has been featured in multiple 30 Under 30 Lists, and honoured in publications such as The Permanent Mission of Barbados to the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, Loop News, Barbados Today and the Nation Newspapers. She has been chosen as a key Social and traditional Media influencer by international entities such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Central Bank of Barbados, Fox News Network, Digicel, and many more. She documents her work on Instagram and social media, reaching over 200,000 people weekly! She intends to continue promoting Literacy, leading and revolutionising Education for generations to come.