Helen Douglas, Former Vice Principal and Head of the French Department at Kingston College will be the Honored Guest and Speaker at the Giddy Hall School Alumni Association on November 12, 2011 in New York.
Through an exclusive arrangement with Giddy Hall Alumni, we are reprinting the text of their introduction for Helen Douglas below.
HELEN JOY DOUGLAS
The late, great Marcus Mosiah Garvey noted that “Liberating the minds of men would ultimately lead to liberating the bodies of men” Helen Joy Douglas, born and raised in Kingston, with strong roots in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, gives life to Mr. Garvey’s vision, on a daily basis. Her career, molding the intellect of Jamaica’s young, makes her not only a liberator but a maker of men and women into productive citizens.
At just a tender age, Ms. Douglas began her education at the London Preparatory School, furthered her education at St Andrew’s High School for Girls, which led her to the University of the West Indies, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969, setting her sights on becoming a teacher. Her appetite for knowledge whetted, she continued over the next 30 years to grow intellectually as well as professionally through internship positions in Martinique, France and international institutions of learning in other countries..
With the blessing of her role-model mother, former principal of Richmond Park Preparatory School, Helen entered the teaching arena as a substitute teacher at Wolmer’s School for Girls in 1965. In 1970 she joined the staff of the now prestigious Kingston College where she served for 37 years as Vice Principal, Head of the French Department, Fund-raising Coordinator and Chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee, respectively. Over a period of more than 40 years, she has proven to be the consummate educator, playing a pivotal role in shaping the lives and careers of not only those to whom she gave in-class instruction, but the many others she encountered in her various professional and social involvements. Ms. Douglas is currently the principal of Richmond Park Preparatory School, a position she has held since 2007.
As over the last few decades the world continues to change from one of political, economic and cultural fractiousness into a more global community, the role of the teacher has taken on a heightened, critical and at the same time, more demanding frame. In this wider capacity, Helen Douglas’ fortitude, skill and professionalism enabled her to carefully channel equal measures of effective discipline and affection to her students, thus providing them the tools each requires to navigate and climb the academic, social and professional mountains and avoid the minefields, which each is bound to encounter in life. Her involvement in the Gibson Relays Organizing Committee, being a member of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association, serving as Chaperone and Chef de Mission to several sports teams, as an Elder and Caregiver at the Webster Memorial United Church and as a Sunday school teacher proves just how far Helen’s versatility spreads.
Unequivocally, the degree to which a teacher succeeds in any given culture, in any institution of learning (higher or lower) lives in the ability to convince students to achieve excellence even in those instances where such attainment seems impossible. In this effort, Helen Douglas has performed with merit. The sheer number of the students she has taught and the testimonials manifest in the various and noteworthy contributions they make to their local and global societies are evidence enough.
All coins have two sides. Helen has two sides to her experiences. While completing her formal studies, she worked for the Jamaica Public Service Payroll Department. She is fluent in French and has used that talent to participate in and promote cross-cultural endeavors.
Helen Joy Douglas has committed the best years of her life to teaching, continuing to promote and preserve the uniqueness of Jamaican education. She believes that “Children are Jamaica’s heritage”. To those Helen Joy Douglas served, in all of her capacities: teacher, organizer, mentor, role model, caregiver and performer, she will never be forgotten.
November 12, 2011
Giddy Hall School Alumni Association –NY Chapter
LaGuardia Plaza Hotel NY