Release Date: 
Monday, February 26, 2018


Herbert Morrison Principal Earns Local Profession’s Highest Award 

Stalwart educator and Principal of the Herbert Morrison Technical High School in Montego Bay, Mr Paul Adams, joined the elite list of career educators to receive the local profession’s highest accolade when he was presented with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Roll of Honour Award on Tuesday, February 13.

The elegant presentation ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel was attended by a cross-section of educators, led by the Hon. Steadman Fuller, Custos of Kingston, who represented the Governor General and Patron of the Award, Sir Patrick Allen. Another outstanding educator and former Minister of Education, Ambassador the Hon. Burchell Whiteman, was guest speaker.  

Paul Adams, who has served the profession for 31 years, is the 48th recipient of the prestigious award which was instituted in 1977 to recognise excellence in the classroom, the JTA and the wider society.

The Citation which was presented by the Communication and Public Relations Officer, Mr. Leaon Nash, described Mr Adams as a visionary and charismatic leader. He is credited with converting Herbert Morrison Technical High School into an “institution of choice in Western Jamaica” which provides “meaningful opportunities for the holistic development of students.”

Within one year of his appointment as Principal in 2003, the curriculum was transformed. The focus on Technical Vocational Education was strengthened; Information Technology was made compulsory and a Sixth Form was introduced. An inclusive leader, Mr Adams successfully mobilised staff and students to restructure the administrative and disciplinary framework of the School; and he also spearheaded upgrading of the physical plant.

A two-time President of the JTA having joined in 1987, Mr Adams also served at the District and Parish levels; and he remains active on several of the Association’s Committees. He is currently President of the JTA Cooperative Credit Union.

In his address, Ambassador Whiteman noted that the achievements of Mr Adams and previous recipients of the Roll of Honour created a platform against which educators and other professionals who impact the lives of people could consider their role in shaping the nation’s future and making Jamaica “the place of choice.”

With just over ten years before the target date of the 2030 development plan, he called for collective and urgent action to solve current national problems, in order to achieve the objectives identified.

Mr Whiteman highlighted the relationship between the predominance of males as the perpetrators and victims of serious crime; and the low level of male participation and achievement in the education system among the challenges to be addressed. And he recommended social re-engineering involving boys and young men.

“We all have to find or create opportunities to engage for change,” he asserted.

Ambassador Whiteman also commented on the impact of the postmodern “Anything goes” approach to decision-making on citizens who were becoming individualistic, self-serving and materialistic. He encouraged leaders at every level “to become exemplars of that better self for which we have been and known.”   

“If indeed, our people are our best resource, then the peace, progress and prosperity which we crave and plan for will depend on what the people do. What the people do will depend on what the people are. Confident, Caring, Competent or Grasping, Selfish, Corrupt.”

And, the JTA’s President, Mrs Waugh-Richards, in her greeting also pointed to the environment of fear resulting from crime across the country; and the negative psychological impact on children. She noted that if prolonged, current crime levels could impact learning outcomes and erode the significant gains made in national examinations in 2017.

In his reply, Mr Adams said that the formation of character was the central issue facing the educators and the nation. He noted that schools had become the principal institutions for socialization; and he urged that teacher training be geared to facilitate this new role. 

Greetings were also delivered by Mr Floyd Green, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, who represented the Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid; and the Rev. Ronald Thwaites, Opposition Spokesman on Education and Training.

Entertainment was provided by the Herbert Morrison Technical High School Band which engaged members of the audience as it performed a medley of Mr Adams’ favourite songs.

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