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Joan O'Connor - a life dedicated to teaching

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 1:00 AM
Having served 37 years in the teaching profession at the Bellefield High School in Manchester, Joan O'Connor (right) collects her plaque from Kerrene Grant, business development officer at First Global Bank (Mandeville Branch), at the schools appreciation and recognition affair held in honour of 12 teachers who have retired after serving between 12 and 38 years in the classroom. The event was held at The Verandah in Clarendon Park, Clarendon, recently, with First Global Bank being the main sponsor. - Contributed

For the past 37 years, educator Joan O'Connor had been trekking the road five days a week to nurture and teach scores of children at her alma mater Bellefield High School in Manchester.

And like many other teachers, her ultimate goal was to see her students accomplish their educational pursuits.

Fast forward to Thursday, November 27, 2014, when this erudite lady joined 11 other of her colleagues at The Verandah in Clarendon Park, Clarendon, to proudly accept their plaques and other accolades, as they bade farewell to beloved colleagues.

A function that showcased much pomp and pageantry, saw sponsorship from corporate Manchester from companies such as First Global Bank, which was the main sponsor, which, among other contributions, underwrote the cost of some attractively stylish plaques that will be hung on the teachers walls for years to come.

Grateful for support

"I am grateful that First Global Bank and other sponsors came on board to make this a reality for all of us," she said.

Having given stellar service to the teaching profession for between 12 and 38 years, O'Connor and her colleagues, who are now retired, will be rolling back the curtains of memory in the coming months and years.

"I saw many changes at Bellefield High during my 36-year tenure. We started out pretty young, but we have aged over the years, and experience has taught us a lot," O'Connor recalls.

It would be her delight to see younger teachers committing themselves to being more responsible and to educating themselves in other administrative areas, which would complement their teaching abilities.

O'Connor admitted:" I will definitely miss some of my colleagues. I am feeling good to know that we are recognised. I didnt know persons were observing the things I had been doing. I had no idea it had such impact on persons. Visual arts, guidance and music were the subject areas she taught over the years."

The married mom of three is now contemplating entrepreneurship with the spare time she has on her hands.

And citing the commitment by the retirees to have spent so many years in the classrooms, Kerrene Grant, business development officer at First Global Bank (Mandeville Branch), commended them for being loyal.

"If you are not committed, you can't stay in a classroom for 30-plus years. This serves as an encouragement to younger persons in the teaching profession. We are encouraging teachers to continue being the beacon in students lives, as it is through them that the nation shines," Grant observed.

rural@gleanerjm.com

CAPTION - Having served 37 years in the teaching profession at the Bellefield High School in Manchester, Joan O'Connor (right) collects her plaque from Kerrene Grant, business development officer at First Global Bank (Mandeville Branch), at the schools appreciation and recognition affair held in honour of 12 teachers who have retired after serving between 12 and 38 years in the classroom. The event was held at The Verandah in Clarendon Park, Clarendon, recently, with First Global Bank being the main sponsor. - Contributed