Two decades after retiring from the classrooms, two St Catherine-based early childhood educators recently received community awards for the hundreds of children they have moulded.
Retired Principal of the Kitson Town Basic School, Beverley Robinson and Yvonne Francis, are the latest recipients of the Kitson Town Builder’s Awards.
The two served for over 20 years at the early childhood level and six years in the primary education sector, respectively.
On Sunday, January 8, the packed Kitson Town Resource Centre was the scene of tears, and accolades by past students for the educators.
Francis, who was visibly moved by the many praises, said she and Miss Robinson were “extremely honoured” to receive the awards for “moulding of the minds of our children.
“We are delighted that our dedication over the years towards the nurturing of your most precious gifts, has not gone unnoticed,” she said.
“The task was not “easy, but we happily faced the challenge. Seeing them grow and ultimately moved to the next level of education made us proud, and now to be called builders of the community,” she said.
Meanwhile, Robinson said when she entered the teaching profession, awards and recognitions were the “farthest things from our minds”.
“We had a task to accomplish, and I gave all that I had in teaching, showing love and respect to children, parents and everyone else. All that I wanted was to dedicate myself in serving those little ones, which I did,” she stated.
Keynote speaker at the function, wife of the Governor-General, Lady Allen said the awards were an “important honour” to give to the former educators.
“I am happy that this community has seen it fit to recognise those among us, you who have dedicated your lives to cultivating excellence,” she said.
The event was held under the theme: “Visionary Cultivators for Excellence.”
Robinson served the basic school for 41 years, while Francis gave dedicated service to the basic school for over two decades, and after upgrading her skills, while she was in her late 40s, she served the primary school for six years as a Reading Specialist.
For his part, Chairman of the Kitson Town Civic Committee, Garfield Angus, said after many years of talks, the day had come when he and other past students could say “big thanks for the roles that you played our lives, for guiding us on the right path, even in adult life, you were there for many of us, never ceasing to lift us with words of encouragement, and of praise.”
Among the gifts given to the awardees were given plaques and scores of fifed supplied by: the Jamaica Broilers Group, the Jamaica Teacher’s Association, Sagicor Foundation, VM Group Foundation, Massy Distribution Limited, Chicklock Farms Limited, W.T. Feeds, Councillor Keith McCook, Full Stop Auto Supplies, and others.
The Kitson Town Civic Committee was established in 2017 to recognise persons who had played vital roles in community development and to care for amenities in the area.
In 2021, it responded to a request from the former Principal of the Kitson Town Basic School, Joy Sterling, and raised computer tables for all the teachers to conduct online classes.
The group also sourced support valued at $200,000 for teachers at the school to offset hardship caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It organised a successful Labour Day project, where residents in the community painted the entire Kitson Town Basic School, with material valued at 100,000 from Sherwin Williams Paints in 2022.