Cornwall College student, Brandon Ten-fah and his Chemistry teacher, Richardo Smith, on Friday (May 25) walked away with the top award in the ‘My Favourite Teacher’ essay competition.
The duo, from the St. James-based school, were among 50 teacher/student teams from secondary schools across the island, that entered the inaugural essay competition held under the patronage of Wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen.
The award ceremony, which was held at the Wyndham Kingston hotel in New Kingston, was organised by the Institute of Protocol and Etiquette, in association with Moasis Lighthouse.
Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, who was the guest speaker at the function, lauded the organisers, noting that any event that “lifts up” and recognises the worth and contribution of the good teachers in the education system must be praised.
“To celebrate our teachers and to define and accept our finest teachers is integral to the upliftment of education and the restoration of the pedigree of teaching,” he said.
The Education Minister told the students present that the biggest tribute they could give their teachers would be to, one day, become teachers themselves.
“Because, what we need in Jamaica are good teachers, not people who enter into the teaching profession because they can’t manage to do anything else, but people who chose the painstaking, labourious, gratifying, frustrating task of molding a human person in the image and likeness of God,” he remarked.
Founder of the Institute of Protocol and Etiquette, Rev. Miranda Sutherland, said the competition, which is to become an annual event, seeks to honour teachers and highlight their impact on students. “We want to recognise their sterling work in the field of education, through the hearts and eyes of the students,” she explained.
In observance of Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence this year, 50 teachers were nominated from some 35 secondary schools from across the island.
“We want to say to them that you have been unsung heroes and heroines, and in a very special way, make public some of the profound, yet silent thanks that are expressed from the hearts of students that have been touched by these teachers,” Rev. Sutherland said.
Meanwhile, Brandon, who wrote the winning essay, described Mr. Smith as a “very dynamic” teacher, who has brought the subject of Chemistry to life for him and his classmates. “He has opened our minds and has really allowed us to see a spectrum, to see education in a very three-dimensional way,” he told JIS News.
An elated Mr. Smith said he is very pleased to be recognised by his students. “I don’t believe there are enough words to really quantify exactly how I feel,” he remarked.
The essay competition was opened to high school students across the island, with the top teacher/student team awarded the Moasis Lighthouse trophy and framed certificates, while Mr. Smith was presented with a gift certificate for a weekend for two at the Runaway Bay Heart hotel.
Second and third places respectively, went to the Campion College team of Jevane Bent and his teacher, Cheryl Holdsworth-Gayle; and Wolmer's High School for Girls student, Camoy Matthie and teacher, Tashoy Swaby, with the Corporate Area schools awarded certificates and gift baskets.
Rounding off the top six schools were: Rusea's High, Hanover; St. Mary Technical High; and Happy Grove High in Portland, which also received certificates and gift baskets.
Rev. Sutherland informed that the organisers will be looking to introduce the essay competition during the annual Education Week celebrations hosted by the Ministry of Education, and will also be implementing a primary school component next year.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter