KENRICK Tyndale had big plans for the future development of Bethel College.
"His dream was for Bethel to be one of the best high schools in the region," said board chairman Reverend Colville Webb, who in 2004 sanctioned the bold vision of an 18-year-old to start an evening institute on the premises of the Bethel Temple Apostolic Church on Fernleigh Avenue in May Pen, Clarendon.
By all accounts, there was no doubt that Tyndale would have turned Bethel into a leading secondary institution. His track record gave such assurance.
"He worked so hard at whatever he was doing, and when you look at where the school is today you understand that the vision was well on its way to being realised," added Webb.
Unfortunately, however, he won't be around to see the end product.
The body of the young educator — only 27 years old — was found wrapped in a sheet in the back of a car parked along a dirt track in Palmetto Pen, Clarendon, police said.
He had gone missing from the Sunday evening.
"He was in church on Sunday," Webb recalled during an interview with the Sunday Observer on Friday morning.
"He left at the end of the service and we were all expecting him to come in Monday morning, as usual. When we did not see him turn up, we tried to find out what happened, but all calls to his phone went answered.
"This was quite unlike him," Webb continued, "so we called a sister who lives on the building with him and she said he did not come home the Sunday night, which we thought was very strange, so we made a report to the police station. Later in the day, his body was found in his car."
To say the gruesome discovery rocked just about everybody who knew Tyndale would be an understatement. They were absolutely gutted!
"On Tuesday, it was really something else. We wept," Webb said. "Counsellors from neighbouring schools came in and that was what kept us going. Both students and teachers really grieved his loss."
In Webb's eyes, Tyndale, who is described as a math whiz, wasn't supposed to go like this. He was a "shining" example of what a child from humble beginnings can achieve with hard work and dedication — the type of role model that Jamaican boys ought to have.
"He struggled financially because his mother and father died while he was pretty young and people had to help him along the way. I think from in the early days he had a vision and that propelled him to where he was. He was actually supposed to finish his master's in November. In fact, he even got accepted to do his PhD."
"His passing is really a big loss," said Webb, especially for the school community, which might not have been around were it not for the vision of their late principal, whose own struggles inspired him to come up with an idea that would not only create employment for himself and others, but also give high school dropouts in this central Jamaica parish a chance to continue their pursuit of academic success.
"It was some time in 2004 that he approached the church to discuss the formation of an evening school," said Webb. "Prior to that, he was studying at the University of Technology, but because of financial constraints he was not able to complete [the programme]. We saw him as a young man with a lot of energy and zeal; we saw in him that leadership quality, so we encouraged him. We thought that this could be a good way to give back to the community.
"He approached the church again in 2006 and we discussed expanding to a day school," added Webb. "Initially, we were just thinking of a small thing that we could manage, but it developed to the point where we had to start employing, and the fact that he was managing quite well, we could not say no.
"In no time, it grew from a small school to a bigger school. We are now over 400 students and all this was done with Mr Tyndale."
So what now after his passing?
"If he was to say a word to us, I think he would want us to build on the legacy, and that is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to build on the foundation he has left," assured Webb, who also noted that funeral arrangements have been put on hold pending a post-mortem.