Retired Principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers' College, Dr Cecile Walden, has been described as "an educator extraordinaire, a teacher par excellence and an astute leader."
In a citation read by Deputy Chairman of the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College's St James Central Executive Branch of the Past Students Association, Latoya Reid, Dr Walden was also cited as "the epitome of determination".
The retired principal was honoured at a function, held at the college in Granville, St James, on March 20, for more than 40 years of service to education and culture.
"Her perceptiveness as an educator transcended all boundaries and for her that path was endless - not only confined to the walls of the classroom, but to the cultural arena where her scope for creativity was incomparable," the citation read. "This came to the fore during her stint with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), where she served as executive director for four years. As a stalwart and trailblazer in culture and education, Dr Walden has positively transformed the lives of many young persons from the locale, through academics and musical performances."
The citation also noted that Walden was undaunted by challenges and was always affirmative in her passion to create avenues for persons to realise their goals through academic pursuance and cultural inclination. It further stated that Walden heeded the demands of tertiary education by assisting with the diversification of programmes, thus making them more relevant to societal needs.
"The Sam Sharpe Teachers' College is better to have had this phenomenal woman at its helm during those metamorphic periods, periods that saw the birth of the offering of various degree programmes which have changed the educational landscape. Her commitment to service and moral principles charted the course for her appointment as justice of the peace for St James, Jamaica - a position she continues to hold with distinction," the citation stated.
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Michael Stewart, congratulated the management, staff and students of the college for organising the function to honour Walden.
"Dr Walden's passion and drive for teacher education manifested themselves in 1975 at the inception of this college. Her monumental contribution to the Jamaica Association of Teachers' Colleges and the Joint Board of Teacher Education, is unparalleled. She was also instrumental in the planning and development of the Consortium of Institutions of Tertiary Education (CITE) and is currently coordinator of the programme. At the community level, her tremendous energy and ability to take on multiple tasks, allowed this dynamo master organiser to fully participate in the life of the second City," Stewart said.