An appreciation service was held on Sunday the 26th of June at the Ludford Mount Baptist Church, Bois Content to honour the retiring principal of the Bois Content Primary School.
Kathleen Jones, who has been principal of the institution since 2012, will officially retire on 21st April, 2017 after going on eight month’s pre-retirement leave.
The appreciation service was planned by teachers of the school in collaboration with the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and attended by friends and well-wishers from the wider community and further afield, as well as various other churches in the area; also teachers and students from the school along with members of Jones’ extended family.
The service was officiated by host pastor Rev. Arnold Parkinson, who gave the welcoming address, before Rev. Lenford Newell, chairman of the school board, delivered the statement of purpose.
“I hope that the moment spent together here will resonate in our minds for many generations to come... as we celebrate this great milestone,” said Rev. Newell.
Tributes were also offered by a number of persons, including Frederick Bailey, member of the school board; Valerie Peters, member of staff; Shinelle Gayle, a student of the school, and Paulette Jackson of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA).
Jones, described as a strict disciplinarian, was nevertheless lauded as being well-loved and respected by her students and staff.
Calat Davis-Harris presented Jones with a plaque bearing a citation which read in part: “We laud you for the sterling contribution you have made and the indelible mark you have left on the sands of time.
“You have served with distinction, dignity and integrity. With diplomacy and determination, you have executed your duties well. Your desire for success, candid opinion, words of wisdom and encouragement has carried many through copious challenging moments and to you, we are eternally grateful.”
Responding afterwards, the proud yet humble teacher thanked all who had gotten together to pay tribute to her and said that she had so many “treasured and indelible memories” of her years in the field of education and that her life had been made richer by virtue of her service to humanity.
Rev. Orville Vassell, who presented the sermon, encapsulates Jones’ contribution to the education sector and the community by juxtaposing her work to the Biblical story in St Luke Chapter 21 which spoke of the widow who humbly gave two small coins which was all that she had, but in reality had given more than the large sums given by the rich and affluent who gave mostly for show.
In 1977 Jones embarked on a teaching career at the Moneague Teacher’s College where she gained a school certificate before returning in 1993 to acquire a teaching diploma. In 1999 the Bois Content Primary alumnus and native was successful in completing her bachelor’s degree in education, specialising in learning difficulties.
Prior to, and during her period of studies, Jones, who is the mother of twin boys, taught at the St Jude’s and Pembroke Hall primary schools. But it was at her alma mater where she left a lasting legacy, a journey that began in 1984.
Regarding her retirement, Jones, a devote Christian, said: “I plan to do part-time ministry with the Jamaica Baptist Union and enter into entrepreneurship in farming.”
“I am thinking about doing a biography at some point,” she added.
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