Thu | Apr 27, 2017

Archer exemplified service beyond self

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 2:00 AM

Tributes pour in for unparalleled coach, mentor

Education Minister The Reverend Ronald Thwaites led glowing tributes paid to the late Reverend Glen Archer yesterday, describing the decorated spelling coach as an inspiring leader.

"He used his religious conviction to uplift the talents of young people through the Spelling Bee competition," Thwaites told The Gleaner.

He noted that Archer, 61, who coached 26 national champions in The Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee competition, gave of himself, even during his illness.

"That's a very good example of service above self … . An inspiring leader he was," Thwaites said.

Archer, who taught at Ardenne High School in St Andrew for 36 years, died at the University Hospital of the West Indies early yesterday morning after battling renal failure for five years.

Retired principal of Ardenne High School, Esther Tyson, said yesterday that plans were being made for him to have a kidney transplant.

Tyson, who worked with Archer at Ardenne for several years before she retired in 2013, said that at the time of his passing, tests were being done with possible donors.

A fundraising dinner was also being planned for next month in support of Archer.

Tyson described him as committed to his purpose and his country.

"Spelling Bee was his purpose. The coaching and training of these students in terms of discipline - not just in terms of discipline but in life - was something that was at his heart," Tyson said.

LEGACY WILL LIVE ON

Nadine Molloy, the current principal at Ardenne, said Archer would be sadly missed and gave the assurance that his legacy will live on at the St Andrew school.

"The entire Ardenne family, including the alumni and the church, is in mourning," Molloy told The Gleaner.

She noted that two of Archer's former Spelling Bee champions, Hanif Brown and Keenan Falconer, have been carrying out most of his duties with the School's Challenge Quiz team during his prolonged illness.

"They have been working with the same programme from the Archer camp, so in a lot of ways, his legacy will live on," Molloy explained.

Archer is a recipient of the Order of Distinction and was recently presented with a special Gleaner Honour Award for his contribution to education.

"He was a great Jamaican, who put the education of our nation's children at the top of his life priorities," said Gleaner Managing Director Christopher Barnes.

"He prepared many of our children for competition in the global arena and allowed them to taste success. The Spelling Bee programme will greatly miss him, but continue to thrive because of the legacy of training he has left behind with his many former national champions and other coaches."

In a joint statement, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and spokesperson on education and youth, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, also expressed sorrow on learning of Archer's death.

Johnson Smith said he was "a dedicated educator, one who set high standards and maintained them. This, I am sure, is what led to the historic achievements of his young charges at the world Scripps Spelling Bee championships".

Holness said: "We shall certainly miss his advice, his sharp critical humour, and guidance which he offered to me as minister of education. His passage has left a gap given the many contributions he made towards delivering programmes of excellence in the education sector."