Late educator was ‘a gem’

The Barbados Community College (BCC) was thrown into mourning this weekend, following the passing of former principal Norma Holder on Sunday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at the age of 79.

The late Norma Holder
The late Norma Holder

When a team from Barbados TODAY visited the campus today members of staff spoke glowingly of the late educator who retired from the teaching service in 2004.

Describing her as “an inspirational leader”, Acting Registrar Roger Worrell said: “She worked hard in getting the college to move from a post secondary institution to a full fledged tertiary institution.”

He also described her as a committed tutor and principal, who was involved in the transition of the BCC from “a kind of sixth form school to an institution offering associate degrees and eventually offering degrees as well.

“She was involved in the process of semesterization, moving the college from a trimester system similar to the secondary schools to a more tertiary institution in orientation. She advanced the college in terms of student intake, offering diverse programmes where we are an institution which offers more diversity in its programmes than any other post secondary institution in Barbados.

“I think that is one of the legacies of the late principal,” Worrell said.

Expressing great admiration for the late principal, the acting Registrar said he was always impressed by “her poise, her grace and her elegance”.   

Worrell also recalled that it was Holder who had first interviewed him as a new tutor in 1988, adding that she had  inspired him to pursue education as a profession.

“In some respects it was through her influence, that I moved away from a career in law, which was my original path, to a career in education. I think that her example is an inspiration to an educator. She was dedicated to education in Barbados,” Worrell said.

In her tribute, acting Assistant Registrar (Student Affairs) Caroline Woodroffe-Holder, who has been employed at the Howell’s Cross Road institution for the past 28 years, said: “I found the late principal to be very professional, no nonsense and she got the job done because she was a good principal.

“I think she will be missed not only by the college fraternity for the hard work she did in propelling the College forward, but those in the music industry because she was the organist at the St Barnabas Anglican Church and later the St George Parish Church.”

Clerk-typist in the Student Affairs Department Charmaine Estwick also spoke glowingly of the late educator, describing her as “a gem of a woman”.

She was a great principal and you could have approached her with any challenges. It did not matter how small. She advanced the College during her tenure.”

Groundsman Carlyle McClean, who has been employed at the educational institution for the past 15 years, credited Holder with finding a job for him in 2001.

“She was a very nice person. You could always get along with her. She liked to see a person working conscientiously, however, she was not a hard task mistress,” McClean said.

Holder leaves to mourn, her husband, Jean, who is the chairman of LIAT and her daughters Janette and Caroline, both of whom reside overseas.

In a statement this evening, LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer David Evans also expressed sadness at her passing, while hailing her the contributions she made to education and music in Barbados.

“Dr Holder also cared deeply about the airline. She will be remembered with much admiration and affection by so many people here in the region and beyond.

“On behalf of the entire LIAT family, I express our condolences to Chairman Holder and their two daughters,” Mr. Evans added. (NC)           

4 Responses to Late educator was ‘a gem’

  1. Cynthia Blackman
    Cynthia Blackman February 16, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Wonderful LADY. She was ,, As mentioned before I had personal dealings with her when my WARDS attended BCC . May she rest in peace

  2. Tony Webster February 16, 2016 at 6:47 am

    All teachers are due great respect, especially those like this lady, who has borne the weight of High Office, and achieved much. My family’s condollences go out to Dr. Jean Holder, and the family.

    I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration, for my own teachers, from primary thru secondary, who tried so mightily, to educate me. Happily, there are special suites reserved for them in heaven, where you and I …might get…just a room!

  3. lswiltshire February 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

    mr webster your theological ideas are seriously flawed

  4. Tony Webster February 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Mr. Wiltshire: I never said my masters (mostly Bajans serving at Grenada Boys Secondary School), actually succeeded at educating me: I said that they tried, mightily! With scant Cambridge School Certificates, and a few “Highers” that must’ve been the result of fortuitous accident, I was bereft of any chance to enter Codrington. This was therefore left to my more reverent brother, Wayne, to carry the ecclesiastical flag for the family. I merely try to keep up, you know?


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