MONTEGO BAY, St James — Recently retired principal of the Challenge Basic School in Montego Bay, St James, Eileen McIntosh has been hailed for her work in moulding young minds for more than four decades at the Water Lane-based institution.
The work of the Hanover native was celebrated by members of her Montego Bay New Testament Church of God family on Sunday during a function held at the institution.
Among those who lauded the retired educator for her accomplishments was the wife of former chair of the school board Marcia Clarke, who described McIntosh as "a nation-builder in her own right".
"She allowed trials and pain to sharpen her skills and to shape her to become the nation-builder she has turned out to be. That's what educators do, build nations, one student at a time. Let's celebrate a nation-builder," she remarked.
She added that the educator is an unsung heroine.
"I am somehow at my happiest, jolliest when I join in celebrations like these. It's a joy fuelled by the realisation that I and countless others like me who were born with no entitlement save those bequeath to us by the selfless service, dedication, acceptance and nurturing of educators like Mrs McIntosh, unsung heroes and heroines in their own right," she stated.
Custos of St James Bishop Conrad Pitkin remarked that during McIntosh's tenure she was able to pass on good values to her charges.
"Sister Mac [McIntosh], after spending 40 years of meritorious teaching, you have put in great effort in instilling and passing on good values to the future generationsâ€¦our contribution to the school and education, we can never measure those contributions," he remarked.
The now retired McIntosh started as an administrator at the school with 13 students at a section of the back of the church. The school later took up residence opposite the church after a space had been purchased by the church for that purpose.
McIntosh, in her remarks on Sunday, expressed gratitude for the recognition that she received, telling the audience that she felt overwhelmed by the support. She went on to declare that despite the challenges faced during her tenure in the education system, the reward was enough.
"Teaching is an honourable profession, it's challenging yet rewarding. Forty-three years is a long time to dedicate to teaching but I would not change a thing," she stressed.