By RON FANFAIR
Little did Jamaican Kathy Harper-Hall know that she would end up living in Barbados where she was vacationing nearly four decades ago.
The former Alleyne High School physical education teacher was honoured with an award named after the school’s founder at the Canadian Alleyne School Alumni Organization & Friends’ 25th annual awards banquet in Toronto last Saturday night.
The school was established in 1785 after entrepreneur Sir John Gay Alleyne bequeathed an annuity of $60 to St. Andrew vestry for the education of poor Whites.
“It’s quite an honour to receive this award,” said Harper-Hall, who is an active member of the school’s Barbadian-based alumni association. “It means that those who made the decision to recognize me think highly of me and my contributions to the educational institution.”
Harper-Hall, who has served as vice-president, secretary and public relations officer of the alumni association, taught at Alleyne from 1970 to 1975.
“I met Kathy in 1970 when I entered First Form,” recalled Joan White, who presented the award. “I did not like physical education at the time, so she was not one of my favourite teachers.
“She was, however, very enthusiastic and the school, which had performed poorly in sports prior to her arrival, began to do well in athletic endeavours. She was responsible for the turnaround.”
Harper-Hall said she was offered the opportunity to teach while vacationing in Barbados.
“A friend of mine told me about the vacancy and I reminded her that I already had a job in Jamaica and was just here to relax,” said Harper-Hall. “She, however, insisted that I take up the appointment for a term to give the school an opportunity to look for a full-time person. I accepted and am still in Barbados.”
The Canadian alumni group also recognized octogenarians Dan Bancroft, a former City of Toronto auditor; Dr. Lacey Walke, who is Barbados’ honorary consul general in Michigan; United States-based Dr. Victor Goodridge and Barbadian residents Cammie Spencer and Wellsley Foster.
An Award of Excellence was presented to McDonald Smith, who also resides in Barbados.
The local alumni group, which has about 25 active members, provides funds to support scholarships and other programs at Alleyne.
The executive comprises Frank Goodridge (president), Sylvester Hunte (vice president), Joan Bromfield (secretary), Esmond Foster (treasurer), Nigel Nicholls (past president) and Patrick Clarke and Joan Hinds.