Carmelita Patterson was among 40 educators who received the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education during a ceremony at Jamaica House on June 26.
She got the award for giving more than 40 years of stellar service to the teaching profession.
Thirty-six of those years were spent at her alma mater – Watsonton Primary School, which is located in Lionel Town, Clarendon. There, she served as a teacher, senior teacher, vice principal and then principal for 11 years before she retired in 2001.
“Teaching has been my passion,” Patterson said. “It was something I always wanted to do as a child. I used to teach the post and wall by pretending that they were my students.”
Prior to Watsonton Primary, Patterson taught briefly at Salt Savannah and Hayes Primary schools in the parish before she pursued studies in primary education at Shortwood Teachers’ College in St Andrew.
Among her several contributions as a principal is the establishment of a welfare fund to assist needy students at Watsonton with transportation, uniforms, shoes and other emergencies.
Since retirement, Patterson developed an annual scholarship for a needy student who is doing well academically.
She also established an adult literacy class for parents in the Lionel Town area.
Patterson, reflecting on her service as an educator, told the state-owned Jamaica Information Service: “I have lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs who have passed through my hands. When we meet on the road and they thank me for helping them to reach where they are, it is a very good feeling.”
Patterson encouraged young and aspiring teachers to show true dedication and commitment in order to get good results.
“When you leave the classroom each day, you should feel satisfied that you have given your best, so you have to love what you do and have full dedication to reap the rewards,” she said.
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