Hail the man, ‘Gigs’
The Editor, Sir:
Allow me a little space in your paper to show my appreciation for a programme that placed hundreds of academically less fortunate young men and women on the road to earning a career. I speak of the Preliminary Programme instituted by the late principal of Mico Teachers College, Renford Archibald Shirley.
Mr Shirley affectionately called 'Gigs', was a decent human being, a humanitarian and philanthropist. Not only that but Mr. Shirley was a firm believer in the development of human resources so much so that he would keep a student up to seven years at the institution until that student passed all his/her courses to become a certified teacher.
The objective of the Preliminary Programme was to give another opportunity to individuals who were not yet matriculated for the teacher diploma course. This allowed the individuals to spend four years to attain the teacher's diploma rather than the prescribed three years. The programme, though no longer around, was equivalent to the now pre-university course offered by the University of the West Indies.
Mico Teachers College, now Mico University College, the oldest teacher training institution in the western hemisphere continues to churn out men and women on annual basis who are no less than the movers and shakers of the Jamaican society. I believe that all my colleagues who passed through the precincts of the institution can attest to that and what is more heartening is that as Miconians the world all over we are living in fine style our college motto 'Do it with thy might'. Nothing less will suffice.
Miconians who benefited from the Preliminary Programme, especially during the indomitable reign of Renford Archibald Shirley shall rise up to call him 'blessed' and although he is dead his influence lives on.