JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Countless students and community members of Somerset, in St. Thomas, are benefiting from the dedicated service of educator, Mrs. Estell Davis Wright.
  • Under her leadership, the student population has moved from 80 when she took over to more than 100 today.
  • The 2016 Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education will be the latest in a number of awards to be bestowed on this esteemed educator for her 35 years of service to education and community development.

Countless students and community members of Somerset, in St. Thomas, are benefiting from the dedicated service of educator, Mrs. Estell Davis Wright.

The principal of Lystra Primary School in St. Thomas since January 2003, Mrs.  Davis Wright is one of 40 educators who will be honoured on June 23 with the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education.

Under her leadership, the student population has moved from 80 when she took over to more than 100 today.

The students have been excelling, with many matriculating to the Morant Bay High School and continuing on to higher education.

Mrs. Davis Wright is particularly proud that many parents are now choosing to let their children stay in the community and attend the school.

With the help of the Ministry of Education, she was able to rid the school of pit latrines and installed flush toilets.

She also erected a perimeter fence at the southern and western sides of the school with the assistance of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and fundraising activities. The dilapidated roof was repaired and murals created on the walls.

“The school is just looking beautiful and things are happening,” the Principal tells JIS News.

Mrs. Davis Wright has also addressed the needs of many students, giving them books, uniforms and stationery. She has been instrumental in building a cordial relationship among parents, community members and the school family. The parents are given tokens to encourage their participation at parent-teacher association (PTA) meetings.

The Principal introduced fresh ideas to improve the teaching/learning process, and with the assistance of Member of Parliament, James Robertson, she was able to get an audiovisual and computer laboratory.

“When I first went to Lystra Primary, the library was like a storeroom. Now it is transformed,” she says.

Humble Beginnings 

Mrs. Davis Wright says her journey to the top was not easy, but it helped to shape her character and gave her the drive to help others.

“From the early beginning I was always a struggler, but I’m always seeking to improve myself and others around me,” she says.

Mrs. Davis Wright came from a poor background in Somerset, St. Thomas. She failed her Common Entrance Examination while attending Lystra Primary, where she is now principal, and became pregnant immediately after leaving Waulgrove High School in Kingston.

However, she managed to turn her life around and went on a mission to change the lives of many students.

Mrs. Davis Wright was introduced to the National Youth Service, which landed her the first professional experience at Trinityville Primary School in 1980. She later advanced her education at the Moneague Teachers’ College and the University of the West Indies, specialising in History and Geography.

Her career blossomed over the years, serving as teacher at Mount Vernon Primary, Lyssons Primary and Seaforth High, before joining Lystra Primary as teacher, before being named principal in 2003.  She is also President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) branch in St. Thomas.

Once a farmer who used her earnings to take care of her family and finance her education, Mrs. Davis Wright is using this method to empower community members. She established and funded a project where struggling parents could rear goats and sell them to help with financing their children’s education.

She is a Justice of the Peace and attends the local Church of God of Prophecy where she is the Sunday School Superintendent. She also established an outreach Sunday School to reach children who are not attending regular church services.

Mrs. Davis Wright sees to the needs of the adults too, and is the care group leader in charge of 16 persons in the local church, to ensure that they are cared for physically, spiritually and emotionally.

The 2016 Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education will be the latest in a number of awards to be bestowed on this esteemed educator for her 35 years of service to education and community development.

She is also the recipient of the JTA’s Edith Dalton James Award; the Carlong Publishers Excellent Principal Award; and the Ministry of Education Outstanding Teacher Award.

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