By RON FANFAIR
Dione Pryce-Tomlinson captained Manning’s women’s track and field team in her last two years in high school in Jamaica.
The highlights of her athletics career, though, were the Class Three all-island long jump mark – 16’ 10” – that she set 60 years ago and lasted almost four decades and a dominant 4 x 110-yard anchor leg that led the Westmoreland parish school to victory over Ardene High School in the 1966 Jamaica’s interscholastic track and field championships, commonly known as CHAMPS.
Residing in Canada since 1970, Pryce-Tomlinson who, five years earlier, captured the Class Three 150 yards title in 17.62 secs. and the long jump crown with a leap of 16’ 0.2”, was recognized for her high school track and field excellence at this year’s CHAMPS meet in Jamaica.
She entered the school – which won female back-to-back CHAMPS titles in 1965 and 1966 – in 1962 and graduated six years later.
“It certainly feels good to be honoured for what I did to help my school enjoy the athletic spotlight,” she said. “But Manning’s stands out for me because I learned valuable life experiences there and it helped mould me.”
Though separated by hundreds of miles, Manning’s is still near and dear to Pryce-Tomlinson’s heart.
For the past two decades, she and her husband of 43 years – Cosmo – have been providing books, uniforms, lunches and bus fares for students. They also travel to Jamaica and Philadelphia regularly to support Manning’s athletes at CHAMPS and the Penn Relays respectively.
“Manning’s prepared me for life after school, so it’s important I give back to the institution that gave so much to me,” she said.
Working briefly in the registry department at Savanna-la-Mar hospital before migrating to Canada, Pryce-Tomlinson – who also played netball – is a member of her school’s alumni association in the Greater Toronto Area and the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations where she served two terms as executive secretary.