Dr Barbara Buckley-Jones - Educator par excellence
Natalia Oh, Contributor
"I was born where jerk pork originated - eight-penny jerk and hard-dough bread, to be specific," chuckles Dr Barbara Buckley-Jones.
Born in the beautiful north east coastal parish of Portland, Dr Buckley-Jones is the last of 11 children born to Agatha and Jeremiah Buckley.
Dr Buckley-Jones began her studies at Boston Primary School and later advanced to Titchfield High School where she thrived in netball as her five-feet-11-inches frame gave her a competitive advantage. After completing high school, she pursued her undergrad degree in the arts at the University of the West Indies.
Her teaching career led her to Knox College in Clarendon, where she would eventually retire after serving for 35 years, 15 of which were as the school's principal.
While teaching at Knox, Dr Buckley-Jones was a key member of Jamaica's netball team to the West Indies. She served as captain to the Jamaican team when they played in other Caribbean islands such as Barbados, St Vincent, St Lucia, Trinidad, and Montserrat.
She tells Outlook, "Though my teammates and I were isolated from our brothers and sisters, travelling overseas made us realise that we were more similar than different. Being captain, I learnt to deal with many different personalities and, during our travels, we formed a lifelong bond. Even now, so many years later, we meet to reminisce about fellowship and past games." She led the team to the World Tournament in Eastbourne, South Wimbledon, England, and in 1960, she was named Sportswoman of the Year.
In 1962, Dr Buckley-Jones married Leo Jones (now deceased) and together they were blessed with five children. Being a mother was a natural progression from being a teacher and captain.
She tells Outlook, "When I got married and had my own children, it was easy for me, because I treat my students like my own."
She says that her profession as teacher at the
college was joyful as she had ample care from all the nannies and other
teachers who would look out for her children. She says unequivocally
that, because her children were raised in an academic environment, it
helped to shape them. "Also, the international teachers on the campus
helped to broaden their horizons, mine and the other
One wonders how many lives Dr Buckley-Jones has
touched over her expansive career, but one doesn't have to go too
Lifestyle's editor was a
student of hers and remembers her being "a remarkable woman, full of
grace and a genuine love for all the students".
this interview, the summer was blessed with a heavy downpour and I was
invited to join her for an impromptu lunch - complete with fine china
and table settings fit for dignitaries. While we ate and talked about
her garden and how grateful she was for the rain, she spoke at length of
a tree she planted for a young student who had drowned many years
She also answered some questions I threw her
Where is your dream international vacation spot
I would love to visit Oxford University in
England where I can walk around the campus and soak in the grandeur of
the old buildings and enjoy looking at the beautiful flowers and
How do you spend your
I love tending to my garden, cooking meals,
and having family and friends over. She also enjoys spending time
babysitting her grandchildren.
is your favourite author?
Agatha Christie. I love
mysteries, once you start with a Christie, you can't put it down, she
takes you along these devious pathways and you want nothing but to read
to figure them out.
Where is your
favourite vacation spot in Jamaica?
Jewel Resort in
Ocho Rios, it's very relaxing and the lawns are so very well kept and
manicured. While I'm there, it feels as if I'm away from Jamaica, and it
offers a true getaway.
you have ever received?
My mother taught me that when
I am friends with someone, to always lift them up, and to not take them
for granted. That advice has since stayed with
What is your favourite
Most of her charity work is done without
fanfare; "I help out wherever I can. However, I am a supporter of the
Red Cross, the Member of United Nations Association, and the Friends of
Percy Junor Hospital."
As I spent
the day with her, I realised that her thoughts run deep and her words
are carefully thought out, gentle but firm. I reflected on what my
editor said and thought, indeed, what a remarkable woman this is, it is
no wonder she epitomises the definition of 'Beyond
Fashions, 18B Leader's
Plaza, Mandeville, 895-8756
make-up artist, photographer: Natalia Oh