To ma’am with love

Retired teacher Coreen Campbell gets a hug from student Akayla Griffith.
Retired teacher Coreen Campbell gets a hug from student Akayla Griffith.

Students of the Frederick Smith Secondary School have been encouraged to rethink their purpose and attitude about why they go to school.

This homework was given to them by a long-standing member of that institution, Coreen Campbell, as she delivered a goodbye message to students and staff during a retirement function at the Trents, St James institution.

Campbell recalled that from encounters with hundreds of students, some of them held the mindset that they did not want to be at the institution for several reasons. On that note, she indicated to them that even though they felt that way, “it is time to move on” and urged them to be encouraged with the strides that professionals who attended newer secondary schools were holding high positions in various career fields locally and internationally.

“But, there is a price to pay for success as qualities like handwork, discipline, commitment to the past and respect for those in authority will set you on the way. forget the age old experience that teachers don’t like you and they unfair you. If anything, aim to show them that you will succeed nevertheless.”

Student Dilan Willie presenting Doreen Campbell with a gift of appreciation.
Student Dilan Willie presenting Doreen Campbell with a gift of appreciation.

The long-standing educator, who is also an exemplarary christian, urged the school’s population to listen to words of wisdom which begins at morning assembly

“God wants to direct your life; do not turn away from him. He is the source of everything you do. And i want you to keep in your mind that you will try to make the world a productive and happier place. I am going to challenge you to go light your world as best you can.”

She expressed gratitude for the many tributes paid in song, dance and poems.

Campbell’s calling to the teaching career came in 1971 when she started to teach at the Springer Memorial School. After being the first head girl
of that school she returned to serve as a teacher before leaving for the then St. James Secondary School in 1979. By 1982 she became a Year Head at this fledgling institution and her legacy began.

According to teacher Carla McConney as she delivered a tribute, Campbell was a true educator, who was the backbone of an institution from its birth to its maturity, seeing a change in the plant, changing of the name, the uniforms, principals and staff. McConney said Campbell mourned the losses and celebrated the births and triumphs of the school, nurtured, taught and guided generations of Barbadians, both teachers and students.

“As teachers we have a mandate to teach, care for and guide students and this is what Mrs. Campbell did. She was conscientious and diligent in her tasks. One would hardly hear a student or teacher say she was unfair-some may argue too fair. Mrs Campbell gave students a chance to give their side of the story; she believed that bad behaviour stemmed from some deep seated root and would try to extract that root and hopefully kill it.

When dealing with a case she would usually repeat the offence and the reason for the offence and ask students if that made sense. Usually a sheepish look would follow the less belligerent. The more difficult child she would leave to stew in their folly and some would eventually come around to seeing the error of their ways. At times this didn’t sit well with teachers as her calm nature usually seemed –– to the flustered teacher –– as “not doing anything.” It is this ability to remain calm that makes her nature remarkable. The calm in the storm –– and this approach did not change despite being at the centre of tumultuous situations,” said McConney.

Jefferson Phillips, principal, said the retired educator spent 42 years in the teaching service and 34 at Frederick Smith where she served at all levels of the school’s administration. Phillips said she played a prominent role in speech day and prize giving ceremony for many years. She was also the brainchild of the school’s skills programme and counselled many children and staff members.

“She brought a calm anbd level-headed appraoch to mangement-never one to panic in any situation,” said the principal.

One Response to To ma’am with love

  1. Aimee Sutherland
    Aimee Sutherland December 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    What a lovely story.


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