The Reverend Glen Archer had big plans
Had The Reverend Glen Archer been alive today, he would have published his book titled A Spell of Excellence, which was expected to record his life story and set out plainly his teaching techniques.
That book, according to Professor Newton Duncan, head of the Department of Surgery at the University of the West Indies, was one of the many plans he had, believing he would have recovered from his illness.
Duncan, who was one of the many persons who gave tributes during the thanksgiving service held at Ardenne High School in St Andrew, noted that anyone who had an encounter with Archer would have been positively transformed.
"He told me that I was one of the very few persons who knew about this plan, and I know that this book would have been a world changer, especially for members in the education sector. Right to the end, he never lost hope, but was willing to accept whatever fate God had in store for him," the professor told The Gleaner.
"Archer had respect for humility, but disdained shallowness of character, pompous speech and conceitedness. Taking a line from a letter he dictated to me while ill, he stated that 'Each child is a precious instrument from God with the potential to be unlocked'," he said.
Archer's cousin, Maureen Boyd, in her tribute, recalled a moving conversation she had with him years ago.
"When I decided to move to Canada, I said to him, 'Why don't you migrate and earn some extra money for yourself?' He turned to me and said, 'No. The children of Jamaica need me'," she said.
"He continued by saying I will stay here and live poor, but the children will get the better of me, and that he did. He moulded so many lives because he recognised that there was an army of young people that needed to be touched, and because of him, Ardenne High School is a place of choice for many students today," she declared.
In an emotional address, his sister, Marcia Archer-Groves, remembered his jovial side.
"In addition to his stern side, he had a goofy side to him. His corny jokes were flavoured by his scintillating personality and his signature laugh," she said.
"He was driven by his sacrificial love for the younger generation, even at the expense of his own health. In the last few years of his life, no one could get him to give up Saturdays for dialysis because he loved his students that much," Archer-Groves told the gathering.
In the meantime, Karin Cooper, former manager for business development and marketing at The Gleaner Company, said Archer lived a full life.
"I must thank the family for allowing us at The Gleaner to share in his life. One cannot think of The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee, without thinking of the valuable contribution of Reverend Glen Archer, who built a successful foundation," she said.
"I have had the privilege of working with Archer for many years during the competitions and watched the positive development of thousands of children. He did not only train students to spell words, but he trained them to win and for life," Cooper said.