Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Pansie Porteous - A beautiful and virtuous woman

Published:Tuesday | October 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Pansie Porteous

Confucius once said: "To be able to understand all circumstances to practise five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."

The words aptly describe the life of Pansie Maeve Porteous. At the service of thanksgiving for her life, she was hailed as a true Christian who was non-judgemental and whose natural charm, quiet dignity, unruffled demeanour, and grace summed her beauty and endeared her to everyone.

Porteous' life was dedicated to teaching and moulding lives. This she did for over 40 years, 33 of which were at Clarendon College (CC), alongside her husband, Stanhope, who was principal. Her pedagogical skills were also shared with the International University of the Caribbean (IUC), where she pioneered that institution's development in Clarendon.

The Southern Regional Mission Council of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands hailed Porteous for her work within the church as an elder, lay preacher, adviser and vice-chair for nurture and capacity building.

The Ministry of Education praised Porteous as one who was called to the ministry of teaching by the Master Teacher, one who understood this call to be her vocation, one whose life had been purposefully navigated to impact the lives of others, and one who had a winning and reassuring smile that told every student that despite the letter grade on the paper they held, they had great potential.

Mrs P, as she was affectionately called, was greatly admired by her past students at CC. One described her as "the teacher who loved me, enabled, empowered, and transformed me into the powerhouse that some say I have become, she who opened her heart and knowledge, her textbooks and all her resources to me". These sentiments were endorsed by multitudes of 'CC'ites' at the ceremony.

Her children Marvia, Warren, Shalise and Haldane honoured her as a virtuous woman, a great mother, friend and confidant and wife to Stanhope.

Born April 26, 1945, Porteous' life of 71 years, to paraphrase a line from the play Julius Caesar, "was gentle, and the elements mixed so well in [her] that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, "This was a [teacher]".