Educator Marjorie Jones honoured
DISCOVERY BAY, St Ann — Retired founder, principal and teacher at the United Church of God Basic School in Discovery Bay, St Ann, Marjorie Jones has been praised for her sterling and dedicated service to Early Childhood Education.
Jones, who was a basic school teacher for over 42 years, went into retirement recently. A "Thank You" function was held in her honour at the Brown's Town Community College Technical Campus in Discovery Bay, organised by the Zone 19 teachers.
At the function, she was showered with tributes and gifts from colleagues, parents, teachers and friends.
Reverend Delroy Johnson of the United Church in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, who delivered the main address, lauded Jones as "a consummate educator and a successful teacher who was able to touch the lives of many people.
"For her, it was more than just a job. It was a calling. She was loyal and she obeyed the call," Rev Johnson stated.
Jones, in a later interview with the Jamaica Observer, said that teaching was her passion and she had no regrets serving all these years.
For her, being in the classroom was the right place.
"It felt just good, felt right," she said.
Jones said that she has always loved children and so she always knew that she wanted to become a teacher.
"From the day I left school, I just loved children," she said.
The jovial Jones said that many told her that she would not have children of her own because of her strong love for children. However, she has five biological children. As a teacher, she has mothered many.
Jones said that the only regret she has now that she has retired is that she was not able to get a new school built for the students at UCG Basic School.
However, as Rev Johnson stated, "she is now gratefully moving on".
Jones was also appreciative of those honouring her.
"I was happy about it. I didn't expect it," she told the Sunday Observer.
Chairman of the St Ann Early Childhood Parish Board, Devon Evans, praised Zone 19 teachers for recognising the work of
their colleague and thanked Jones for her "foresight, her strength of character, leadership and dedication to both her community and the early-childhood sector."
President of the Jamaica Early Childhood Association Joyce Nelson Lindsay and President of the UCG Parent-Teachers' Association, Donna Brady also heaped praises on Jones, describing her as a pioneer educator and a committed teacher.
Acting supervisor for the Early Childhood Commission Region 3, Merlina Parry-Shirley, who chaired the function, said that Jones has made a positive contribution to early-childhood development for which the commission is most grateful.
Parry-Shirley encouraged other teachers to follow the example set by Jones, as they remained committed to the Commission.
Also paying tribute to Jones were Hortense Lynch, Lloyd Beckford and Gladys Walden, all members of
the school management committee, along with O'Neil Jones, son of the honoree, and the school's principal, Kerlene Wisdom.
Tributes in song and dance were done by Kedisha Folkes, Princess Tia, UCG and Queenhyte Basic Schools, and the teachers from Zone 19.
Jones, who sat comfortably beside her husband, Bishop Noel Jones throughout the function, was most gracious in her response to the many accolades.
She recalled that it was her love for children which encouraged her to become a basic school teacher in the early 1970s, while she resided in St Catherine.
Shortly after moving to St Ann, she started a school on her verandah, which grew to become the UCG Basic School that currently accommodates several students.
Jones praised the members of the school's management committee for her success, describing the members as the "best school board".
She appealed for unity amongst teachers and for their continued commitment to the development of their communities through early-childhood education.
In the meantime, Jones said that she would encourage persons who wished to become educators at the early-childhood level, to pursue their degree in education.
"I would advise anybody, don't go in there unless you have your degree," she stated.
Having a degree will not only better equip the teacher, but, according to Jones, a degree at that level will make teachers more acceptable.