When the Prime Minister awards Medals of Appreciation to the nation's outstanding educators later this evening, among the proud recipients will be 40-year veteran in the classroom, Ansel Brown.
Driven by the motto that “everybody can be somebody good” the 58-year old Hanover native has dedicated his life to preparing the nation’s youth to be productive citizens, who can contribute to society.
“I believe then and I still believe this, that everybody should come to something good in life… and my satisfaction comes now, when I can see young people come and say look here, I used to be in your class, you impacted my life,” Mr. Brown tells JIS News.
Born in the community of Jericho, Mr. Brown is the fifth of 11 children for his parents. He received his formal education at the Jericho All-age School, Harrison Memorial High School, Mico Teachers College and the University of the West Indies.
His years in the classroom span the primary and secondary levels, with most of his years spent at the Green Island High School in western Hanover. Mr. Brown dedicated 34 years at Green Island, entering the school as a teacher in 1969, and over the years, has taught Spanish, Religious Education, English Language, English Literature and Guidance and Counselling. He was promoted to the position of principal in 1987 and served in that capacity before retiring in 2003.
While at Green Island, Mr. Brown added the vocational subject of auto mechanics to the school’s curriculum and established the auto mechanics and information technology laboratories, and a sick bay.
Mr. Brown is the recipient of many awards in recognition of his contribution to education and community service. These include: the Governor-General’s Achievement Award; West Indies Union of Seventh Day Adventists award for services to education; and an Outstanding Service award from the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists.
The devoted teacher, who is married with three daughters, says he has never regretted his decision to enter the classroom. “Not at all,” he says, noting that while “everything that you do can have its frustrations,” he has never had a de-motivating moment.
Despite his many honours, Mr. Brown says his greatest pleasure in life is when he sees or hears from past students, who have done well.
Alfred Jarrett, a graduate of Green Island High School, says that the former principal had a holistic approach to teaching.
He says that Mr. Brown inspired many students, giving them a reason to complete their high school education, and to go further in the education system.
Nurse practitioner, Pernel Johnson, who worked as school nurse at the Green Island High School during Mr. Brown’s tenure as principal, describes him as “friendly, a good listener, easy to talk to, sympathetic and a caring person, who looks out for both teachers and students”.
“He respect all the workers. He would never disrespect or talk down to you or anything like that, and with his sympathetic ways his favourite words were, ‘oh my God never mind’, with a pat on the shoulder,” she tells JIS News.
Though retired, the educator has not slowed down, still volunteering his time to tutoring and counselling young ones. He is also involved in several community organizations throughout the parish of Hanover.
“There have always been people who needed my help…so I have never thought of giving up…because everybody can be somebody good,” he states.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter