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Sister Bernadette will be teaching the angels in heaven

Sunday, February 23, 2014    

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ON Sunday, February 9, stalwart educator and former principal of the Alpha Academy Sister Bernadette Little passed on.

Her passing has left a gaping hole in the hearts of her former colleagues and students and the wider education sector.

Life Tributes joins with her loved ones in saluting the sterling contribution Bernadette Little selflessly made to the building of the nation.

Below is a tribute from her colleague Joyce Archibald.

How can I begin to recognise, thank and celebrate Sister Bernadette Little, so `strong yet gentle, invincible yet compassionate, enigmatic but inspiring, exemplary but humble, woman of substance, woman of courage, woman most gracious, woman of great intellect, woman of spiritual fortitude and love — and most importantly — woman of God!

Our 'Sister B', as her students affectionately called her, was a rare gift, an exotic gem, a consummate administrator and principal, a quintessential spiritual icon, a role model, an educator par excellence!

As our mentor, she established high expectations for faculty, staff, students and constituents of other communities which she served.

Sister displayed strength and courage in leadership, and inspired all of us to pursue professional and spiritual growth and develop a moral compass that would ensure our adaptability and successful integration in any society, culture or civilisation within which we found ourselves.

'Sister B' brought an aesthetic flair to her several roles in the various areas of operation to which she made outstanding and lasting contributions and to which she gave unstintingly of her wisdom, knowledge and indeed herself.

As principal of Alpha, she led with a vibrancy and presence that was immediately felt as one entered the hallowed halls and pathways of that noble institution, situated at 26 South Camp Road, the "Convent of Mercy Academy — Alpha. She commanded the respect of all without exception, irrespective of class, race or creed.

The impressionable young girls who comprised the population at Alpha, would, on meeting her, and subsequently getting to know her, strive jealously to emulate her — her walk (she seemingly glided along without making a sound), her speech (delivered in dulcet tones and carefully chosen words, each woven together in beautiful harmony to produce an unforgettable account), her smile and countenance which held such promise, hope and inspiration.

She was consistent and persistent in her tremendous commitment to secure positive student accomplishment and worked tirelessly to ensure that all students achieved their maximum potential.

She was never satisfied with the status quo and could be described as the best example of a learning leader.

She had the energy, capacity and ability to inspire and empower staff and to challenge all within her sphere of influence in their pursuit of excellence through advanced learning and professional development.

Her belief in the power of positive thinking and a committed work ethic has translated into an exceptional holistic education experience for those at Alpha, her religious community, the Academy's Board of Governors, her church community and related organisations and in fact, all those with whom she came in contact.

Sister B's persona, commitment, intellect, leadership and charisma of mercy set a positive tone in all her endeavours and has left a legacy that will last for time and eternity.

Through both her scholarship and significant involvement with school, board, community and church organisations and work throughout the diaspora, she gained national recognition in the award conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, and many other acknowledgements from institutions that were appreciative of her noteworthy contributions.

These milestones underscore the invaluable impact she had on numerous lives and institutions and reveal that hers was a distinguished career of considerable import, locally and internationally.

Sister B had great dreams of what public education could be and an extraordinary gift of innovative thinking. She was indeed a visionary, with tremendous patience and tenacity of purpose, qualities she brought to all her activities.

We will miss our caring, determined, educator and director who was equally a considerate, fair, compassionate, yet a firm and `no nonsense' administrator. She loved life and shared that love unceasingly with her companions on the journey.

It was an awesome privilege for me to have had the benefit of her association, fellowship, guidance and love. Hers was a life well lived!

We release her in mercy to the God of her youth and age, the one she loved unconditionally, served faithfully and in whose bosom she now takes her eternal rest!

"Ad verum et Bonum - To the Good and True".

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