Retired St James educator gets Spirit of Independence AwardThursday, August 12, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James - For some 42 years, Frederick Haughton's love for teaching saw him devoting his life to the profession and development of the students who stepped into his classroom.
In recognition for his contribution to the field, Haughton was recently awarded the St James Municipal Corporation's Spirit of Independence Award for education.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer West, Haughton, a retired Herbert Morrison Technical High School vice-principal, shared that while he was not looking to be awarded, he is extremely grateful to have been recognised for the hard work he has done over the years.
“Strange enough, I was not looking for any awards, the fact that somebody recognised the work and decided to give me an award, I am grateful. Many persons have made even greater contributions than me and you have never heard their names, so I was not looking for an award,” Haughton argued.
With a teaching career spanning four decades, Haughton shared that he has taught many of the present Herbert Morrison Technical High School teachers, and one of the country's most popular radio show hosts, Derron “Ron” Muschette, who was also awarded at the same ceremony.
“I taught a lot of the teachers who are now working at Herbert Morrison while they were in high school. What was so impressive was that Ron Muschette and I got an award on the same day, and I taught him at Herbert Morrison as well. It was a really good feeling to have experienced that,” he said.
He told the Observer West that his first teaching job at the then Anchovy Secondary School, at the early age of 18, opened his eyes to many issues affecting the youths at the school. He shared that while he, a Cornwall College alumnus, got the chance to attend the high school of his choice, the students he taught during his stint as a science and physical education teacher did not.
“Anchovy prepared me because Anchovy Secondary then was for students who did not get a chance to go to high school. Having gone to Anchovy, I saw students there who had every right to be in a high school, they were that brilliant. But I guess because we did not have the space that we needed in the high schools; they had no choice but to throw some of the students in a secondary school,” Haughton noted.
His experience at the Anchovy Secondary School, he believes, allowed him to seek out his students' strengths and weaknesses to better help them to grow, something he brought with him throughout his entire career.
“It was good. I got a chance to see changes, growth and I saw the good, bad and the indifferent. I got to see young children grow up in front of my eyes and became big people,” he added.
Haughton then left the Anchovy Secondary to attend college at the then Jamaica School of Agriculture. After four years in college, he later moved on to teaching at the Herbert Morrison Technical High School in 1981, where he spent 35 years.
“At Herbert Morrison, I taught agricultural science, biology, chemistry, and I coached the Under-14 and Under-16 football teams. I also coached the cricket team and I assisted with the track and field team,” he told Observer West.
After serving as acting vice-principal of the technical high school twice, Haughton was made the upper school's vice-principal in 2008. Though it was a promotion, he believed that “it took a bit of the fun out of the job”, as his greatest joy came from seeing his students do well.
“I first acted as vice-principal in 1992 and then again in 2002. I was then officially made vice-principal in 2008. [Becoming vice-principal] took a bit of the fun out of the job because I enjoyed being in the classroom. My greatest [joy] was seeing a student people didn't expect to do well, pass the subject,” said Haughton.
Though he retired in 2016, Haughton still volunteers to assist with the preparation of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) at the Herbert Morrison Technical examination room.
“Even though I am retired, I still go in and help in the examination room. If I can assist in any way, I will go in to assist. I was even there earlier this year for the exams. I did the preparation for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE),” Haughton said.