Carleen Laing wipes away tears after fellow teachers of Holy Family Infant and Primary School delivered a tribute in song at a dinner in her honour. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer
For 42 years, she served diligently as teacher, mentor, substitute parent, care giver, and vice-principal to thousands of children under her watch.
On May 30, Carleen Laing was honoured by the Holy Family Infant and Primary School for 33 of those years.
In a tear-jerking ceremony at the Mona Visitors' Lodge at the University of the West Indies in St Andrew, several speakers lauded Laing for her sterling service and the impact she had on the teaching profession.
Sonia Williams, education officer at the Ministry of Education, praised Laing's dedication.
"Mrs Laing is one educator that anybody would be pleased to be paying tribute to. God spared her life and we want to say thanks for the quantity of years and the quality of her contribution," Williams said.
"I can see that Mrs Laing's contribution was visionary, it was state-of-the-art, it was more than ever education that embodied transformation," she continued.
Cecile Palmer, principal for the institution, said her association with Laing has had a positive influence on her life. She praised Laing's leadership, whether as classroom teacher or acting principal.
"Not only was she a teacher, she was a counsellor, she was there for everyone, she has given yeoman service to the school. In administration, she showed fairness, fortitude and astuteness," the headmaster added.
Palmer also hailed Laing for her contribution in building the school and comforting students when the central Kingston community was rocked by violent flare-ups.
"She was always there with a calming spirit and she would always try to talk it out and to show our children that there is another way out for them," he explained.