Two distinguished Canadians are among the first inductees into their Jamaican high school alumni Hall of Fame.
Dr. Anna Jarvis and Mary Anne Chambers are to be honoured at the Immaculate Conception High School inaugural event on March 23 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
A University of the West Indies graduate, Dr. Jarvis completed rotating internships in paediatric medicine and neurosurgery and general surgery at the University of the West Indies Hospital in Jamaica. She also worked as a casualty officer at Holberton Hospital in Antigua, where she had a part-time family practice before coming to Canada to complete four years of paediatric training at The Hospital for Sick Children. And she did oncology clinic training and ward work for four months at the Princess Margaret Hospital before joining the Hospital for Sick Children’s division of emergency services in 1997. She retired in June 2010.
“What I learned at Immaculate is still integral for today’s youth,” said Jarvis, who created, implemented and supervised the Department of Paediatrics clinical fellowship program in paediatric emergency medicine for 13 years. “The old-style nuns taught us the values of self-discipline, hard work and concern for others which are still essential values for young people today.”
Chambers, who migrated with her family in 1976, is a retired Scotiabank senior vice-president and provincial government minister.
She entered Immaculate on a government scholarship.
“I am very proud to be an alumna of the school,” said the president of the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education. “There are so many examples that serve to illustrate that the nuns were correct in insisting that we could achieve absolutely anything that we wanted to achieve.”
Chambers says she is honoured to be inducted with her headmistress, Maureen Hall, who is being honoured for her outstanding service in the field of education; and her piano teacher and Glee Club director, Lisa Narcisse, who is being recognized posthumously for her contributions to music and the arts.
“Though very young, Sister Maureen was known for her extremely high standards and expectations of everyone,” said Chambers, who has an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto. “Even now, two generations later, those characteristics define the kind of respect she receives from alumnae to the extent that when she is physically in our midst, we still feel as if we must be at our best.
“Miss Narcisse was an exceptionally talented musician and teacher who was my piano teacher even before I got to high school. I will never forget an important life lesson I learned from her. I once complained that I was always partnered with students at lower grade levels to perform duets at school concerts and she reminded me that while I could play at their levels, they could not play at my higher level. I still try to apply that lesson to how I work with others. It’s very important to be respectful of each person’s ability to contribute to the success of the whole.
“Being celebrated alongside these two individuals who have had such a significant influence on my life is like being celebrated along with my parents.”
The other inductees are Thalia Lyn and Grace Yap, who are being recognized for business and volunteerism and social services, respectively.
Toronto resident and 1973 Immaculate Conception graduate, Donette Chin-Loy, was instrumental in the establishment of the Hall of Fame.
“This high school is a stalwart institution in Jamaica and I have been honoured and proud to be a graduate,” said Chin-Loy, the wife of philanthropist and Ryerson University Chancellor Emeritus, Ray Chang. “It has given the community and the world amazing and extraordinary women. Some of the values we learned were humility, pride, walking tall, honesty and integrity.
“While the institution has traditionally being low-key, I thought it was time for us to celebrate the successes of our own graduates and the wonderful teachers and mentors who took us through our years of trials, tribulations and joy. So the Hall of Fame is a one such way and a big way.”
Proceeds from the event will be used to enhance student welfare and provide scholarships.
Founded in 1858 by Scottish Franciscan Sisters, the Roman Catholic Girls School has an enrolment of nearly 1,600.