AN EMOTIONAL Clover Thompson-Gordon, Principal of the Denham Town High School in Kingston, left the Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday as the proud recipient of the 2002 LASCO Teacher of the Year Award.
Mrs. Thompson-Gordon, who was cited as a dedicated individual who has given superlative service to the teaching profession for over 30 years, also received two tickets to any United States or Caribbean destination, courtesy of Air Jamaica, and a cash award of $100,000 from LASCO.
Runner-up, Claude Rattray, Vice-Principal of the Christiana High School in Manchester, also received a trophy and $50,000. The LASCO Salute to Teachers Programme, which is in its fourth year, was created in an effort to recognise the high levels of service offered by teachers in areas such in the school and the community.
The 2002 LASCO Teacher of the Year, who also holds the honour of Order of Distinction for outstanding service in the field of education, was hailed as one of the founding members of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and the longest serving member of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica.
"Throughout her life, she has been guided by the principles of perseverance, accountability and fairness," said Kerry Thomas, Acting General Manager, LASCO Foods Limited, in a citation to the awardee. She said that although Mrs. Thompson-Gordon's accomplishments have been many, of more significance are the countless lives she has touched and the substantial contributions she has made to the education system.
For his part, LASCO's Chief Executive Officer Lascelles Chin showered praises on the teachers, referring to them as "unsung heroes of Jamaica." "These are the outstanding teachers of today," he said, adding that as a nation we tend to be very censorious and in that process we often forget to recognise committed individuals who are working to make a difference.
Keynote speaker, Maxine Henry-Wilson, Minister of Education, while congratulating the 14 parish winners, recollected the fond moments she had as a child with her teachers. However, the Minister lamented the lack of unity among members of the JTA and highlighted the need for personnel in the relevant governing bodies to exercise dignity in all their functions.
Minister Henry-Wilson congratulated LASCO for its vision to recognise public servants in such a tangible way.