Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Melvin Powell puts service above self

Published:Thursday | October 20, 2016 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Educator extraordinaire Melvin Powell.

COMFORT, Manchester:

He is loved by many and admired by all as a man who is actively engaged in the business of moulding minds and positively transforming lives.

Melvin Powell has given 46 years of his life to serving in the education sector; most of which he has spent at the Comfort Basic School in the capacity as principal.

With no formal teacher training initially, but an admirable trait of consistently striving for excellence, Powell was asked to take over the reins of the institution and has never disappointed those looking on.

"I started in education at a time when my church was extending itself and we started a Sunday school in the area. The person I worked with, she had a basic school going, but the opportunity came up for her to move on to another institution and she asked me to take over the school," he said




While at the school, Powell became certified at the University of the West Indies in early-childhood education and later pursued a master's degree in metaphysics.

Amid all his accomplishments and accolades, Powell is admired mostly for his humility and his willingness to do all he can for the development of the school and the comfort of the children; even if it means taking on janitorial duties.

"If I have to be, I am the plumber, the carpenter ... I remember at one point I used to go there early on a Monday morning around 5 o' clock and clean, because the school could not afford a janitor. I remember at one point in the past, I misinformed my staff about the reopening of school and they didn't turn up that week. I had to go into school early and cook and then, after all of that, I had to take all three classes," Powell told Rural Xpress

To date, Powell's most memorable moment at the institution was the day he was able to save a child's life.

"The child swallowed a marble and it was blocking the air passage. Having been trained in metaphysics, I quickly did my thing and I got the child to expel the marble from the air track. The child was about five years and after everything, I said, 'my God, I saved a child's life,'" Powell told Rural Xpress.

Though Powell would not trade his teaching career and experiences for anything, he does have a few ideas for an improved education sector.

"I am happy for the task that has been assigned me, I have no regrets. However, what I'm disappointed with is remuneration in terms of parent and Government's responsibility. On a daily basis, I have to create miracles. The finance is not there and it's not coming from the parents, and it's not coming from the Government," he lamented.