September 2020 Volume 16

KC Family Saddened by Loss of Beloved Vice-Principal

Pat Bignall
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The Kingston College family is mourning the loss of the school’s vice-principal Juliet Wilson. She had been at the school for 25 years.

Miss Wilson was integral to the school’s operation and worked under several principals. She taught English and during her tenure influenced the lives of countless students. We will remember her for, among other things, her role in these vital areas of the school:

  • Manager of the Quiz Team 
  • Inter-form quiz
  • Prize Giving
  • Graduation
  • Summer School
  • Extra Lessons 
  • Parents Consultation 
  • Guidance to the Grade 9 (3rd Form) students with subject selection for Grade 10 (4th Form)

We sought to engage members of the Fortis Fraternity with a view of getting their views on the impact of Miss Wilson. Some of the tributes were solicited while some were pulled from posts made on Fortis Pages on Facebook.

Madam Hall - Vice Principal

There are so many things to say about Juliet. She was totally dedicated to KC. She had everything purple – paper clips, stapler, scissors, you name it.  She was meticulous.  She was sought after to proofread exam papers, letters, etc. She had a passion for sports and could supply statistics on football, and track and field.  Champs could not miss her whether in the stands of watching it on TV. She stayed connected with many students even after they left KC. She was witty. Her English background was always evident. Her tough exterior fooled many persons. She was a real ‘softie’ at heart. 

Maureen Lewis – Retired Teacher

I met Juliet when she joined the staff at KC. It was my duty to find seats in the staff room for the new staff. When she demanded a window seat because of the heat, I buttoned my lips and did not tell her that widow seats were earned and she would sit were I placed her and like it. I negotiated a window seat for her much to the disgust of more deserving staff members.  Over the years, we got on well and a bond grew between us because she came to love KC as much as I did. At times, we fought like the proverbial puss and dog especially after she became my boss but I was always there for her. That bond grew beyond our school lives and into our private lives.  No matter how mad we were at each other, she knew she could reach out to me and I never failed to respond. She was a strong woman but there was a vulnerability about her, which touched me. Her passing has left me discombobulated. I did not expect it and I grieve her passing.

Lanzel Williams (Indian) Retired Ancillary Worker

The death of Miss Wilson will be a great loss to KC. I had a good relationship with her and even though she got miserable at times, she did not mean anything. She had a high standard and she liked to see things done a particular way. She supported the Ancillary Workers and we usually attend most of the funerals of KC related persons. She will be greatly missed.

Janice Fairclough – Former Vice Principal

Juls, as I affectionately called her, became my close friend and confidant very soon after I joined the staff at KC. She was one of the persons who interviewed me alongside Miss Douglas in 2004. She became very close not only to me but also to my two sons, my husband and my brother Irvin. My entire family is trying to come to grips with her passing. ‘Juls’ was a sport fanatic. She loved and was very knowledgeable on most sports. However, she was most knowledgeable in football (Arsenal was her team) and track and field. She had her facts! And her stats! She was smart and witty.

She loved KC with all her being. When you talk about ‘’bleeding purple” she epitomized that. Everything for Juliet was purple. When asked about her “purpleness” her reply was “why buy any other colour when purple was available.” Juliet was a softie. She exhibited a tough exterior but really, she was not. She put KC first in every response given and, in every decision, made which came across as firm. She harboured no malice. She meant well. I learned never to take her too seriously as her overall intention was to turn boys into kings, and for KC to be the greatest institution in Jamaica. Juliet had no place for mediocrity.

Everything was to be done ‘Juliet’s way.’ Anything else was unacceptable. She spent sleepless nights just trying to get it right. She would throw out a whole batch of programs for prize giving because she found that a boy’s name was mistakenly spelt with a common letter instead of capital letter! Forever in my heart Juls. #Forever Fortis. Sleep well my friend until we meet again!

Dr. Je-Vaughn S. Wynter Class of 2010

I am lost for words. I have known you from 2008 when I moved into Grade 9 at North Street.  I remember the first day of your class you came in and said to us “ensure nothing but excellence and friendly competition”. You were a strict disciplinarian but you were also fun, very funny at times and I used to enjoy stopping by your office to trouble you. Miss Wilson only wanted the best for us all and she pushed relentlessly. She was a pivotal member of our School Challenge Quiz Fraternity and was involved in so much more areas. I will miss you and so will the entire Fortis Family worldwide. You were more than just my Vice Principal; you were also a friend.

Ian Telfer – St. George’s Old Boys Association

On behalf of the St. George’s Old Boys Association and the entire St. George’s College Family, please accept our most sincere condolences on the passing of Ms. Juliet Wilson. We salute her contribution to the building of Great Men of this noble institution who will continue to offer themselves to the creation of a better Jamaica. Forts Cadere Cedere Non Potest

Stratton Palmer - Former President KOBAJ

Another stalwart has passed. It is with deep sadness and despair that I received the news of the passing of VP Ms. Juliet Wilson. Her love, loyalty and commitment to our school is well established. These qualities among others were synonymous with our early pioneers Gibson, Forrest, Crick, Isaac Henry and many others in the early years. They were later joined by Wally, Helen, Barber and others in the cohort with Juliet Wilson.

Oftentimes we neglect to, or do not get the opportunity to express our love and appreciation to our teachers and guides and especially to those at the leadership level. Rest assured that we honour and treasure them all. Indeed, it is sometimes as we grow older that our awareness of how much they meant to us and us to them becomes more pronounced. We honour and appreciate her service and dedication. I would like to offer sincerest condolences to her immediate family and to her KC family and she will remain in our collective memories, knowing that her good work and example will infuse others. Rest well Juliet Wilson

Frances-Marie Coke – Former Teacher and Quiz Coach

The loss of this committed vice-principal, and indeed any educator, is grave at this time when schools are struggling to prepare themselves to do their best for students. May the Fortis Family gather up its strength and resolve to get through the trials ahead.  May her family be blessed in their time of grief. May Miss Wilson find eternal rest and peace.

Donovan A. Lewis, JP -Class of 2003

Miss Wilson Was my English Teacher from Grades 9 through 11.  Her classes were always fun and filled with drama. With her expertise in the area, I would have moved on to get Grade two 11 in CXC in both English Language and Literature. This has helped to mold and fashion my command of the language and has landed me where I am at today as a Senior Forensic Officer at the Forensic Lab and a Justice of the Peace. It is indeed a sad occasion with her untimely passing.  May her soul RIP.

Perry Bloomfield – President KCOBA NY

Ms. Juliet Wilson was greatly confident that our students would have a better pass rate than last year's historic 90% passing of 5 subjects or more including math and/or English. I remember visiting Jamaica and witnessed her crunching the numbers, eager to assess the student's success.

During the Fortis COVID-19 Welfare & Sports townhall, I had the privilege of working with her and her love. dedication, and commitment to our student's success radiated. Ms. Wilson, a “FortisMaker,” is a great loss to the Fortis family, the school leadership, and our student population.

Dr. Joseph Wilson – Class of 2004

Multiple stories we have read together. Yet, our story is like no other. A lady of resilience, with a cheerful heart. You have filled the minds of so many with poetic thoughts. You have touched the lived of many with your precious life.  The life in your years has brought joy, knowledge and wisdom to the purple fraternity.  A brave soul you were who never yielded.

Glendon Thomas

Sincere condolences to her family. A very ardent supporter of FORTIS NATION. She will be missed. I met her when my son was a student in her class. Sleep in peace.

Lennox Graham - Assistant Track Coach at Clemson University

Rest in Peace Miss Wilson. We thank you for all you poured into our brothers. My sincere condolences to the bereaved. 

Lloyd Bennett - Rest in Peace Miss Wilson. You made a tremendous contribution to the growth and the organization of our noble institution. I can recommend, without any delay, that an award for good discipline be named in your honor.

Vienne Reid, JP - Former Registrar & Admin Staff Rep on the School Board.

Miss Wilson was such a phenomenal and spirited woman. We bonded together during our days of getting prizes ready for the school debating team and during staff trips.  She was of much assistance to my daughter while she was preparing for the GSAT Examination and was there for me when my father passed away. She was a great asset to KC and will be truly missed.

BettyAnn Cummings (Aunty Betty) – KC Bookshop

I worked closely with and was a friend of Miss Wilson. So closely knitted was the relationship with Mrs. Fairclough, Miss Wilson and myself that we were dubbed the “IThrees”.  Miss Wilson’s dedication, love and passion for KC were unmatched.  She was very meticulous and could be described as a perfectionist. She was like an egg – hard on the outside but very soft on the inside. She was the mastermind and the great organizer behind most of the events/activities at KC. She was also a sports enthusiast and was there most times to cheer on KC. It is going to be hard to replace Miss Wilson. Rest in Peace my Friend.

Pat Sofrona Bignall – Former Vice President, PTA

I worked closely with Miss Wilson during my 7-year tenure on the Executive Committee of the PTA. She was my “go to” person for any information that the PTA required. Sometimes, she was the only Teacher who attended the PTA Meeting.  Like a good leader, she was not afraid to make the tough decisions but I had that relationship with her where I could reason with her about certain decisions and she respected my views. It was manifestly clear that she loved and was dedicated to KC. You are gone way too soon but you have left some very large footprints on the Fortis Nation. Sleep in Paradise.

Dr. Glen Laman – Editor, the KC Times

I cannot believe Juliet is no longer with us. Although our connection was mostly via email and WhatsApp, I had the pleasure of meeting with her on several visits to the school when I was president of the Atlanta chapter of KCOBA. I was routinely in contact with her for information for the KC Times and other issues and she was always eager to help. My last memory of her is seeing her working hard behind the scenes at the 2019 prize Giving ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Center. I will miss her pleasant disposition and warm smile. May her soul find eternal rest now that her earthly labor is complete.

Dr. Cedric Lazarus - Former VP of KCOBA Toronto

My son started in first form at KC in 1995 the same year that Ms. Wilson started as a teacher of English at Melbourne. On the day she died I called him in the USA to tell him of her passing. His first comment was, “That is so sad!” His second comment was, “She was very hard on me in English class – but it paid off.” Going back in my memory I recall that English was one of his top subjects when he eventually did CXC. We thank Ms. Wilson for being hard on him and  for giving him a good start at Melbourne. 

During my son’s time at KC, I interacted with her quite often and even after he left I would see her at KC events and those of us who never miss Champs will no doubt recall seeing her dressed in purple and white in the same seat in the Grand Stand at the stadium year after year. I made it my duty to call to her every year.

At the beginning of the school year in 2019,  my graduation class had its reunion in Jamaica. On the first day of the term in September a couple of us went over to North Street. We asked for Ms. Wilson and a teacher mentioned that she was in her office. We found it and wanted to enter to say hello and have a brief chat but the room was full of teachers and students who wanted to speak to the busy VP and I never got to say hello.  I would have seen her at Champs in April but sadly there was no Champs this year. Now all I can say is, “Walk good Ms Wilson, God’s speed!”

St. Hugh’s High School Alumnae Association – Atlanta Chapter

The Board (and members) of the SHHSAA Atlanta Chapter sends sincere condolences to your board and members on the death of Kingston College academic Vice Principal, Juliet Wilson, on September 20, 2020. With certainty her death is a great loss to Kingston College after her 25 years of dedicated service.

May Ms. Wilson’s family, as well as the Kingston College community, find peace and comfort during this very difficult time, and may Ms. Wilson’s soul Rest in Peace.

Chad Rattray - Head Boy  (2018 – 2019)

When I came to Kingston College in 2012, Miss Wilson was one of the first senior administrators I met. Since then, our relationship blossomed over the 8 years I've known her. She would always celebrate my academic achievements and told me to improve whenever I needed to.

As Head Boy 2018-2019, that was the year I had a full on experience working with Miss Wilson. She was hardworking and passionate as a Vice Principal and was so meticulous and organized. Miss Wilson worked with tremendous effort behind the scenes, she never broadcast her work but I was privileged to be a witness to that. Any KC event, Miss Wilson would tell me to ensure I'm there and I had to help set up. There were fun times in these 8 years, I remember watching FIFA World Cup in her office in 2018 and her favourite team was Germany, Miss Wilson could tell you everything about football.

I had hosted a school social for the students and to my surprise Miss Wilson came, she thoroughly enjoyed it.  There were several times I went on the road with her to help with organizing for the school functions, it was never a dull moment. She was kind enough to even buy me lunch whenever I would come to the Melbourne Campus to help her with the various tasks I was assigned. Kingston College has lost a true heroine, a "Fortis Queen". I will profoundly miss her, all her jokes and comebacks and her infectious laugh. She will be remembered in our hearts and cherished in our lives. May God's light shine upon Miss Wilson perpetually, may God grant her eternal peace.

Kenyatta Powell – Schools Challenge Quiz Team Coach

I met Juliet Wilson when I started training for the quiz team in the summer of 1999. As a student going into 5th form, I knew Miss Wilson only by her reputation; she never actually taught me in the classroom. Boys talk and, the talk about Miss Wilson, even then, was that she approached her teaching duties with a firm hand. In other words, you did not mess with Miss Wilson.

As a young man given to occasionally causing some trouble, I was a little apprehensive about meeting and interacting with this woman. Since I was determined to be on KC’s quiz team, there was no avoiding Miss Wilson, who was at that time, an ever-present figure in the quiz programme. I was unsurprised to find that her reputation was well earned.

Miss Wilson approached her duties as the quiz programme’s faculty manager with seriousness and efficiency. She could always be counted to ensure that the many backroom logistics allowing the coaches and squad to concentrate on training were addressed promptly. And yes, she was not one for some of the nonsense and chaos that so often accompany teenaged boys.

By all accounts, Miss Wilson brought this same seriousness and efficiency to her eventual role as a senior administrator at KC. However, my enduring memories are the moments where I got to know the person behind the hard-nosed teacher and administrator.
Juliet was a mother who dearly loved her child. So, while we mourn Juliet’s passing and contemplate the terrible impact of her loss on the KC family, we must remember her daughter, Kara. Kara’s loss is so much deeper and more profound. No one is prepared to lose a loving parent, and so, we must resolve to care for Kara in any way we can.

Juliet was a teacher who cared deeply for the boys who came under her tutelage at KC. Many boys were indeed on the receiving end of some of Miss Wilson correction, but few would argue now that she was not acting in their best interests. She was undoubtedly disappointed when KC boys failed in any way, but she took so much joy in all of our successes. I was reminded on Sunday by another KCOB of how Juliet would throw herself into securing various prizes and awards for the annual prize-giving ceremony or the inter-form quiz awards ceremony. It was not unusual to find her office filled to the brim with trophies, certificates, books, cakes and the like, all ready to be distributed to boys who had done well.

Juliet had a somewhat naughty and uproarious sense of humour. If you fell into folly, you could expect some witty and good-natured mocking from her. I recall the time as a student that I had to travel to and from a practice match in a car with Miss Wilson and two quiz KCOBs who shall remain nameless. The banter among the 3 was beyond hilarious, and Juliet’s laughter was often unrestrained.

I have no profound words to say about the nature of death and the loss occasioned to the living. No such profound comments are needed. Put simply: Miss Wilson’s passing is yet another terrible consequence of this awful pandemic. I was honoured to know and work with Juliet Wilson. Her death makes us poorer.

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