|Chief Judge, Matthew Farley (left), with the other judges;Royal Fidelity??Managing Director Archie Cuke (back row, centre) and Royal Fidelity Assistant Vice-President, Jillian Nunes (second left). (Images: Royal Fidelity)|
The National Distinguished Teacher Award is more than just a competition.
This was stressed by Chief Judge, Matthew Farley, last evening as he addressed the Awards Ceremony at the Hilton Barbados.??
Mr. Farley noted that Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank and Trust (Barbados Ltd) had established the award with the goal of rewarding outstanding teaching professionals, while encouraging all teachers throughout Barbados to aspire to excellence.
He added that the award mechanism was seen by him "not so much as competition but more as an initiative which has mobilised an assembly of educational practitioners who epitomise excellence and who, with the assessment of their peers, students, parents/guardians and members of the public, are deserving of this recognition".
The Principal of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School (formerly the Garrison Secondary School) congratulated Royal Fidelity for sponsoring the awards for the second consecutive year despite "a deep economic crisis when companies were downsizing and, in some instance, going under". And, he said: "The community mindedness of Royal Fidelity is even more commendable and praise worthy."
Over 60 nominations were received from across the educational spectrum from both the public and private sectors and at the level of nursery, primary, secondary, sixth form, special needs and tertiary.
Commenting on the judging process, Mr. Farley said: "In some instances, the judges were almost moved to tears as we encountered the passion, the absolute commitment and the unstinting dedication and love that set the awardees above their peers and the other nominees. In every instance as they spoke, they spoke not of building physical walls, or constructing or designing structures in wood.
"But they spoke of their calling to the educational enterprise of moulding minds, fashioning character and shaping personalities in ways that no other profession does or ever will. They spoke of loving children, of caring for children. Indeed, by the sheer sense of altruism, they all endorsed the notion, that you cannot teach a child anything until you show him/her that you care."
In addition to Mr. Farley, the panel of judges also comprised former tutor at the Barbados Community College, Dr. Sylvia Hackett; publisher Keith Miller; entertainer, Mac Fingall, and Senior Education Officer, Joy Adamson.