Barbara Parker, who has no biological children, has spent the past 34 years teaching hundreds of children at the Salvation Army Basic School in Linstead, St. Catherine.
The True United Sisters organization, on the eve of International Women’s Day this month, awarded the teacher extraordinaire for her dedicated and unselfish service in the field of education.
“It is a great feeling to be awarded,” Parker said after the awards ceremony held at Bethel Baptist Church in Bog Walk, St. Catherine. Her award was sponsored by Rowan Buchanan of Regal Wear.
Parker was born at Time and Patience district and raised at York Street – both in the Linstead area.
She attended York Street Basic School, York Street Primary, and McGrath Secondary (now McGrath High School).
Parker initially wanted to become a nurse, but that did not materialize, and so she acquired training in Early Childhood Education at Passley Gardens Teachers College in Portland.
She also studied Early Childhood through the HEART Trust/ NTA NCTVET programme.
Parker recalled being unemployed in 1985 when, based on a recommendation, she entered the field of education as Principal at the Salvation Army Basic School. At that time, the school was just being reopened after closure for some time.
Parker attributes her relatively long stay at the school to the satisfaction she gets when her present and past students excel.
“I don’t have any regret. When I see the progress of the children each year, I feel accomplished; I feel like I am doing something towards my nation,” she told The Beacon.
Parker is one of two teachers employed to the school; the other being Marva Brown, who also commenced her tenure in 1985 – two months after Parker started.
The journey, Parker noted, has not always been smooth. “It has its ups and downs, but I think I did my best and people are satisfied with my work,” she declared.
Parker is not only heavily involved in the school, which is owned and operated by the Salvation Army.
She is also active at Good News Release Center – the church where she serves as Sunday school teacher, superintendent, secretary, treasurer, and evangelist.
Reflecting on her work in education, Parker told The Beacon: “I would like people to remember me as being a good educator – someone that you can depend on. I am a people person who is there for the parents and for the children.”
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