Students, teachers saddened by death of Cumberland principal
Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
The atmosphere at Cumberland High School in Portmore, St Catherine was shrouded in gloom yesterday as several grief-stricken students and teachers absorbed the news that their principal, Dahlia Black, had died.
School was dismissed early in the morning as the environment was no longer conducive to learning. Tear-stained faces replaced happy smiles and death weighed heavily on the minds, evident in the verbal and facial expressions of both students and teachers.
Black, who has been principal of the institution for more than 14 years, died yesterday morning about 4 o'clock. She had been ailing for some time.
Tense for everyone
Karen Malcolm, who had been working with the late principal as her secretary for the past 10 years, could not contain her tears as she shared memories of working with Black.
"It has been very tense for everyone," she said of the death. "Teachers and principals have been arriving from nearby schools to share their condolences," she told The Gleaner.
"The students were taking it hard because she was a loving person and a disciplinarian. They could always go to her office if they wanted assistance with anything," Malcolm added.
Michael Brydson, vice-principal of the institution, also noted that Black was a committed and hard-working individual.
"This is very shocking because you could not tell that she was ill. Once she told me that the doctors were asking her to take some days off from work. They told her three weeks, and even then she was still coming to school in the first week due to her dedication," he said.
He said the grade 11 students were "crying non-stop because they knew her for some time".
"In this time of grief, no words can explain the loss of our principal. She always tried her best to improve the quality of this school and she has definitely left a legacy behind," Brydson continued.