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Clean sweep! - STETHS educators take LASCO Principal and Teacher of the Year awards

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Peter Mark Chin (right), deputy executive chairman of LASCO Affiliated Companies, and Senator Ruel Reid (second right), minister of education, youth and information, pose with Principal of the Year Keith Wellington and Teacher of the Year Kerene Nelson, both of St Elizabeth Technical High School, at the LASCO-Ministry of Education Youth and Information Teacher and Principal of the Year 2016 Awards held yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The St Elizabeth Technical High School created history yesterday as it produced both the Principal and Teacher of the Year at the annual LASCO awards ceremony.

Keith Wellington and Kerene Nelson, respectively, copped the prestigious titles to rousing applause from the crowd at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, as many were left stunned at the first-time occurrence.

Wellington, in his response, noted years of hard work and dedication from both staff and students had resulted in the school's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate pass rate doubling - one of several accomplishments for which he was recognised.

He stressed, however, that despite the many achievements, service was central to what he does. He said that among his many objectives going forward was to assist in shaping the lives of other leaders in the system.


"It's an even greater honour when you provide a service and you are recognised for that service. There is a difference between work and service, and teaching is a service," he declared.

"Leadership is something that is practical, and there has been so much happening in the education system over the last years, that it is important that those of us who are in it, not just survive it but help to shape lives," he continued.

He added: "All of what has been said today is about achievement, but tomorrow has nothing to do with achievement. Success is about what happens next, and so those who create success should always think about what happens next."

Admitting that she was not surprised at copping the title, Nelson said it was still a surreal moment. The Spanish teacher told The Gleaner that her aim was always to make an impact on the lives of students she interacts with.

"I was not all that surprised, but even though you are anticipating your name, when you hear it, is a totally different thing. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack," she said.

"I have a strong passion for teaching; it's about touching a life. I said to someone this morning (Tuesday), as much as the remuneration is not as handsome as we would have loved, I would have preferred to have been teaching than to playing a sport where I would have got a lot more [money], because the difference is with this, you touch lives," Nelson said.

She said the first order of business for her would be to increase the use of technology in schools in the parish.

Joseth Kerr-Timoll, teacher at Holland High School in Trelawny, got second prize, while Pelechia Rodney-Vernon of John Rollins Success Primary School in St James came third.

For the principal category, Prim Lewis of Aberdeen High School in St Elizabeth was second, while Keisha Hayle of Padmore Primary in St Andrew was third.