Beacon of the day | Retired Principal June Thompson Awarded For Volunteerism In EwartonDecember 15, 2022
Former high school principal June Johnson-Thompson has been awarded, but not as an educator this time round.
The Ewarton Community Development Committee (Ewarton CDC), located in St Catherine, honoured the stalwart for her dedicated service as a volunteer.
In response to being among the five awardees this year, she told The Beacon: “I was surprised… I am very grateful and appreciative of the award – very appreciative.”
Thompson – as well as Dalfin Brown, Brian Perry, Beverly Jobson-Grant and Leslie Bowen – got their respective awards on 24 November 2022 during a ceremony at Bramwell Clarke Park and Sports Complex in Ewarton.
“Volunteerism is always in my blood,” Thompson declared. “It started from my mother, who was always giving. It really was inculcated in us as children to be kind and charitable.”
Thompson, originally from Johnson Town district on the outskirts of Lucea in Hanover, recalled her first plunge into volunteerism after she relocated to her adopted parish of St Catherine. She said it happened after a super volunteer, Cora Clemetson, invited her to join the Kiwanis Club of Linstead.
“That’s over 20 years ago and I have not looked back; I am always finding something to do in the community,” Thompson said.
She volunteers mainly through the Ewarton CDC, Whitehouse Citizens Association and the Ewarton Baptist Church.
Thompson also gave her service through membership on the Ewarton High School board, as well as the parish advisory committee of the St Catherine 4-H Club. She is also an ambassador for the National Integrity Action.
“My daily purpose is to help anyone who comes along the way. Once I can help, I will help. I will also seek help to give help,” Thompson reasoned. “All that I want is joy, peace and happiness and to continue sharing with those who have crossed my path.”
In addition to being involved in community-based groups, Thompson made her name as a philanthropist mainly by feeding and clothing the needy, as well as financially assisting students to attend school.
“I like to see that, once the children have attained a certain level [in terms of education], they do not go to waste,” said the educator extraordinaire who retired in 2014.
Thompson, in pursuit of education as a child, was enrolled at Lucea Infant School, Lucea Primary and Rusea’s High in her native parish.
She later did three months of pre-trained teacher training at the then Canewood Junior Teachers College in Kingston.
After working as a pre-trained teacher for a few years, Thompson attended Sam Sharpe Teachers College – and actually was part of the second batch of students to enroll there.
She returned to the classroom before heading to Moneague College, where she participated in the one-year teacher upgrading programme.
Strengthening her credentials, Thompson went on to attain a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree – both in education – from the University of the West Indies.
“I am an education lady,” she laughed.
Thompson, who did her teacher-training internship at Jericho Primary in Hanover, taught at various schools.
Her first stint was at Lucea Primary, and she subsequently worked at Claremont All Age and Sandy Bay Primary – all in Hanover.
She eventually relocated from Hanover to live in St Mary with the man who became her other half – Norman Thompson.
That’s how she ended up teaching at the St Mary-based Wycliffe Martin High School, formerly Brimmer Vale High as well as Port Maria Secondary.
Thompson and her husband, through the National Housing Trust, acquired a house at Whitehouse in the Ewarton area of St Catherine.
“When we got the house, we relocated to St Catherine,” she said.
While living in St Catherine, Thompson taught at Norman Manley High School in Kingston.
Her intention to find a school closer to home lead her to Enid Bennett High, formerly Bog Walk High School.
She attended university while at Enid Bennett High, where she rose through the ranks to become vice principal.
When an opportunity emerged for Thompson to become principal at her alma mater, Rusea’s High, she grasped it with both hands.
Thompson, who has a daughter and five sons – including a pair of twins, encourages people to become involved in volunteerism.
“Give of your service, your time, your energy [and] your money because, when Jesus walked on earth, he gave free service to the lowly and to those in high places. It is an example for us as Christians,” she said. “It is better for us to give than to receive.”
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