- The Ministry of Education’s Region Six office recently honoured 25 Chairpersons and Members of Boards of government high schools in St. Catherine and Clarendon.
- They were recognized for between three and 43 years of service to 21 institutions across both parishes.
- The honourees received glowing accolades in the form of framed citations, which were read and presented to them, along with other gifts and awards.
The Ministry of Education’s Region Six office recently honoured 25 Chairpersons and Members of Boards of government high schools in St. Catherine and Clarendon, for dedicated, exemplary and outstanding service to those institutions.
At a special appreciation ceremony at the Bridge Palm Hotel, Toll Gate, in Clarendon, they were recognized for between three and 43 years of service to 21 institutions across both parishes.
The honourees received glowing accolades in the form of framed citations, which were read and presented to them, along with other gifts and awards. The ceremony was themed: ‘Making a Difference through Volunteerism’.
Notable among the recipients was Board member, Ulora Alberga, of Knox College, Spaldings, Manchester, who was recognized for 43 years of service to that institution.
The late Clarendon College Board Chairman, Michael Anthony Pickersgill, was posthumously recognized for 20 years of service to the school. Mr. Pickersgill, who passed away two weeks before the event, was also a former President of the Past Students Association.
Outlining the rationale for the awards, Region Six Education Officer, Barrington Richardson, said the gesture was to publicly acknowledge the work of school Board Chairpersons and Members, based on the extent of their inputs at the institutions.
“In recent times we have seen the increasing challenges that are emerging, and our Board Chairs (and members) are now required to do far more than they were required to do five or 10 years ago,” he indicated.
Mr. Richardson said the Region Six Office, which is headed by Regional Director, Dr. Claudette Clarke, shared the idea with the various Principals and other stakeholders, and they all came on board and supported it.
“Making a difference through volunteerism is at the heart of nation building and our schools, and I am indeed happy, as a region, that we are taking steps to make this (a regular) calendar activity, at the end of each Board cycle,” the Education Officer noted.
Pointing out that several Principals across the region are scheduled to retire soon, Mr. Richardson urged them to give consideration to sharing their years of service and experience by participating in other activities that will “continue to develop our nation’s schools.”
Meanwhile, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who was the guest speaker, welcomed the gesture initiated by the Regional Office.
“We at the Ministry are so happy that you chose to honour those who have seen the value and happiness of being called to service. You who have been honoured, have given of your time freely and selflessly to education and nation building. What better place to offer voluntary service than in education. The young lives you have touched, during your tenure at all the various schools, will continue to reap rich dividends, personally, and for Jamaica,” the Minister said.
The Minister declared that volunteerism in Jamaica is neither “dead nor dying,” and pointed out that the Board Chairpersons and members are not merely persons who do good deeds “because someone has asked you to do it.”
“It is because something stirs in your heart to do so. You have been some of the architects of change in the education system, and that is good news for Jamaica. When you serve well, you are helping in the upliftment of those you serve,” the Minister added.
Responding on behalf of the honourees, Board Chairperson for Knox College, Dorothy Miller, welcomed the recognition from the Region Six office.
“We consider it an honour to be rewarded for what we do. What we are doing, we do from our hearts,” she said, while expressing gratitude for support received from the school administrations, and the “love and support of our families, who have been very understanding with us for the times we have been absent from home.”
Mrs. Miller noted that membership on a school Board is a “very demanding responsibility,” adding that “it is even more so being the Chairman.”
“We know the lines of demarcation (in relation to our duties and responsibilities) and endeavour to ensure that we do not become overzealous and overstep our bounds, in executing these undertakings,” she assured.