Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
ENFIELD, St Mary:
AFTER TEACHING at the Enfield All-Age School from 1969 to 1979, Roslyn Bendor moved to May River Primary, also in the community, where she acted as principal for the next two years before being appointed to the post she held until retiring last year. It was for her 42 years of dedication to the children of Enfield, St Mary, whom she served with distinction, that the community recently honoured the educator.
Bendor was among 14 persons recently recognised by the Enfield Community Development Committee and Friends of Enfield Community for their sterling contribution to the rural community in south eastern St Mary. Much has changed in the district since then, and not all for the better, according to Bendor.
"I think I enjoyed it. I am really proud of the students who came through my hands. Through the years, we have had a lot of successes," she told The Gleaner before addressing the other side of the coin.
"We didn't have as many idlers as we do now. Our road used to be in better shape. I can recall during Alva Ross' Time when we used to have more done on the road. In fact, each time I walk up to May River, there's a piece of road that was done with the broken stone and boiled tar, and it's supposed to be over 30 years, and that patch of road is still there firm. Each time I go up that hill, I say, 'If they could just again use these broken stones and tar - it's so firm'."
KEEPING THE YOUNG ACTIVE
She returns to the plight of today's youngsters, lamenting: "Most young people are uneducated. They are basically wasting away. Some go into skills, but we need more, and I don't think there is enough for them. When I was growing up, the community centre was so active. People would go there and get the skills training, and then a hurricane destroyed it. From that time, it never came back."
The function set for the Enfield Primary and Junior High School (formerly Enfield All-Age) was slated to start at 6 o'clock, and Bendor arrived early as she did during her teaching career.
Accompanied by Delrose Annmarie Coburn, a former student who had come from Kingston just for the event, the former teacher interacted with a number of adults - most of them claiming to have benefitted from her expertise and trying to get her to recall childhood incidents. "She is a loving mother, teacher, friend and neighbour who was instrumental in our upbringing, and even today, as adults, we still look to her for guidance in our careers," Coburn related.
It was no surprise that the retired educator was asked to respond on behalf of other awardees, and in doing so, she acknowledged the pleasure derived from positively shaping young lives. She noted that all the awardees had in their own way contributed to the development of Enfield, some having relocated from other parishes but giving unreservedly of their time, expertise, and wealth to the place they now called home.
The community has undergone many changes since then, including an ongoing brain drain, given the few opportunities for employment or furthering one's education. Destruction of the community centre, which was affected by a hurricane many years ago, has been linked to the declining health of the community. Both groups - the Enfield Community Development Committee and Friends of Enfield Community - are seized of the importance of getting the facility running again as a matter of urgency.