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Community members of Chatham, Goodwill and Blytheston in St. James came together on December 4 to recognize 83 year-old retired educator, Catherine Thorpe. The occasion was also used to present her with the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service in the field of Early Childhood Education, which she was unable to collect at King’s House on National Heroes Day (October 17), due to illness.
At the ceremony, which was held at the Bethtephil Baptist Church in Chatham, Miss Thorpe was showered with accolades and citations by several representatives from the communities.
Secretary of the Goodwill School Past Students’ Association, Berjenie Simpson read a citation to Miss Thorpe. She congratulated the educator for the many years of dedicated service given by her in “moulding and nurturing the lives of many who today are making their own contribution to the future and prosperity of the nation”.
“Today the association is feeling very proud and honoured to know that as a result of its recommendation to the National Honours and Awards Committee, you have been chosen to be the proud recipient of the Badge of Honour for service in the field of Early Childhood Education. The association joins with many other groups and organizations, in wishing for you God’s continued guidance, protection and provision. We trust and hope that you will be among those who will receive God’s recognition and award,” Mrs. Simpson said.
Miss Thorpe was born in Blytheston on December 6, 1922 and attended Elementary school in that community. She fell in love with children at an early age and dedicated some 50 years of her life in helping to mould them through teaching.
It was noted at the function that she entered the field at a time when no provision was made for infant training and education in her community and surrounding areas.
She opened her doors to six students in the early 1940s and afterwards her school became a landmark fixture for more than 50 years.