Magis Awards 2011

Words from former Vice Principal Mrs. Melanie Green

Despite all the other honourees that have been celebrated this evening, there are two special people that we must pay tribute to tonight. Last year, we observed the 50th anniversary of Campion College and throughout all of those years, I cannot think of two more marvellous, superb and admirable teachers who have each, given over 30 years of excellent service to this school.

Mr. and Mrs. Chin – fondly referred to as ‘the Chins’, ‘Lori and Kippy’, ‘Lorilee and Kesang’, the great ‘Science couple’ – have been exceptional and unprecedented in their dedication to their work here at Campion and the vast number of students who have passed through their able hands.

We often think of the Chins as being a couple and inseparable but, despite their obvious love and devotion to one another, they are two unique individuals with their own personalities and exclusive styles of approaching their work. This is what we will pay tribute to and lionise this evening.

Presentation by Mrs. Melanie Green to Mrs. Jean Chin

Mother Teresa commented that there is always a danger that we do our work for the sake of work, but this is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it, our work, for the love of God and others, and that’s why we do it as beautifully as possible. What greater tribute could be paid to JEAN LORRAINE CHIN.

Born in 1992 – yes! – that would make her 19! – YES! Look at her, she still looks like a teenager – with an infinite capacity to learn and a willingness to embrace and absorb all things that are new and exciting, and an intrinsic motivation to pass on to others (especially her students) these fulfilling and enjoyable experiences.

Gaining her Honours Bachelor of Science degree – not in Biology as most people think, but in Botany – Mrs. Chin has continued her desire for knowledge by achieving distinction in her Diploma of Education and finally, being elevated to the richly deserved Master Teacher.

By any measure, Mrs. Chin is easily one of the finest teaching professionals that Campion has ever encountered. She has had an impeccable record of attendance and punctuality. Flawless, methodical and meticulous in her preparation for her classes, she has always been able to create an interesting and enjoyable classroom experience for her students.

Always the consummate teacher, it is no wonder that her students respect and value her efforts. Unlimited in her willingness to sacrifice herself in all ways for the sake of her students’ progress, their performance in the external examinations in Biology – for the past twenty years under her tutelage, they have not only achieved pass rates of over 90%, but have frequently placed among the national top performers in this subject – this is a true testimonial of her dedication to them.

For many students, the perfect, ideal image of a happy school life begins like a dream. And that dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth”! Mrs. Chin has been that ‘dream’ teacher to thousands of students. They have expressed the privilege that they have felt when they have been on the receiving end of her compassionate and caring love for them. Her office has always been a veritable haven for those with adolescent anxieties, for those who have been floundering but just needed encouragement, for those ‘in need’, who longed for the kindness of a snack or a drink to satisfy a hungry stomach, for those who just needed to talk and feel that someone – Mrs. Chin – would care and believe in them.

As Faculty Supervisor to several year groups, especially Grades 10 and 11, Mrs. Chin has been more than just the ‘mother’ to her students. Nurturing and guiding them she has always been concerned with preserving the dignity of each child, ensuring that no student under her care has gone unattended or denied help.

But Mrs. Chin has been more than just a teacher at Campion. She has extended herself in the service of the whole school community. She has initiated and moderated numerous – even countless – school projects and activities. As a House Moderator she coordinated the Annual Road Race, promoted inter-house swimming competitions, launched the Culinary Competition, arranged the ‘Side-Events’ on Sports Day like the 3-legged race, bun-eating competition, tug-of-war,…and a multitude of other activities.

Perhaps one of her greatest achievements, and one for which she will always be remembered, was, and is, the enterprising “Lifesavers”. In conjunction with UWI Department of Social and Preventative Medicine, she created a family of considerate, gifted, peaceful and resourceful Campionites who were eager to encourage a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Devoting much time and funds to assisting those ‘in need’ and donating special ‘treats’ for the elderly, etc. etc…the monthly exercise classes have kept them in a ‘Lifestyle-that-is-healthy’. The ‘Lifesavers Annual Concert’ was not only an eagerly anticipated event, but one in which teachers, students, parents and past students shared their talents with the rest of the school community.

Mrs. Chin’s participation in school activities is both abundant and, quite frankly, too numerous to even list or mention. But did you know that she received a Certificate in Sign Language from the Jamaican Association for the Deaf? Or that she prepared and presented a power point exhibition on the Birds of Jamaica for the international students attending the London International Youth Science Forum? Or that she served as the Staff Representative on the Home School Association?

Mrs. Chin, this has been an inadequate testimonial of your gifts and talents but tonight our time is limited. However, please accept our heartiest congratulations and our sincere appreciation for your immeasurable contribution to the reputation that Campion enjoys as the leading high school, not only in Jamaica, but in the Caribbean. We have all – teachers, students, parents and friends – benefited from your rich, insightful, mature commitment to Campion College. The fact that you have done it all with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart will be cherished by everyone. Enjoy your retirement, but always remember that you will be missed by many aching hearts.

Aesop in one of his stories said that “we cannot all do great things but we can do small things with great love. No act of kindness is ever wasted”. Thank you Mrs. Chin for your love and your kindness throughout all your years at Campion.

Presentation by Mrs. Melanie Green to Mr. Kesang Chin

Kesang E. Chin came to Campion in 1979. He is known affectionately to all, students, parents, teachers and past students, as Kippy (although not always to his face!).

He carries a giant-sized torch for two passions. The first is his enormous love of, and for, humanity, and the second is the scientific and mathematical education of all his students at Campion. Who, but this admired and gentle person with such a huge heart, would readily give of his time and commitment (even after school hours) to the educational development of students and teachers at Campion, extending that consideration to hundreds of students from other high schools. It is rare for us to be able to honour a colleague, a knowledgeable teacher and friend, who through his hard work and the manner in which he has carried out his work, exemplifies the characteristics of a true ‘Campionite’!

Mr. Chin, like all Campionites, was trained by Jesuits, and began his high school days at St. George’s College (poor man!). He too graduated from UWI with an honours degree in Special Chemistry. Expressing gratefulness to his alma mater for the marvellous education he had received, he decided that the profession of teaching was fully as interesting and challenging as any other honourable profession, and returned to St. George’s to teach. It was during this time that he became the coach for the Manning Cup team and led them to great glory.

I am sure that his marriage to Mrs. Chin influenced his decision to apply to Campion College in 1979, and so began an over 30 year long, superb, spectacular teaching venture at Campion. Mr. Chin was soon enrolled in the Diploma of Education course – specialising in Science – resulting in no less than Distinction.

Mr. Chin began his illustrious career at Campion teaching Science to Third Formers, but is soon became obvious that the depth of his knowledge and his methodology made him an ideal tutor for Sixth Form Chemistry and Mathematics. His philosophy of teaching is that any subject can be taught in some intelligently honest form to any child at any stage of development, and that the best stimulus for learning is to create interest in the material being learned…Ask any Sixth former though, if they would have sacrificed Mr. Chin to the lower school and there would have been a riot on campus!

An excellent teacher, he brought his keen sense of humour to his classes and an ease with which he was able to get the students to understand a particularly difficult aspect of organic chemistry was truly refreshing. He has used novel approaches to teaching chemistry which points to his comfort level and depth of understanding of the discipline. He has never been daunted by having to teach difficult concepts, having a good grasp of the fundamental aspects of both chemistry and mathematics and an appreciation of the need for systematic development of ideas when teaching.

It is said that the mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, but the great teacher inspires. Mr. Chin has always been considered to be that ‘great teacher’ – the one who realises that there will always be rocks on the road ahead, that those rocks can become stumbling blocks or stepping stones; – it all depends on how we use them.

We always look back with gratitude to our ‘great teachers’ because they are the ones who have not only been caring and loving, but have touched our human feelings. I can quote numerous students and past students who consider Mr. Chin to be a ‘gentle person’ – not ‘soft’ but that kind of gentleness that is not only seen in a man’s actions, but is also demonstrated in his thoughts, words and intentions. This is because it lives deep within Mr. Chin and reaps the rewards of the fruits and consequences of his gentleness – peace, harmony, joy and thankfulness. Listen to these comments about Mr. Chin: “He always kept things interesting and upbeat, he was always patient, funny and ready with a witty quip!”… “When he was explaining a difficult concept he might say: ‘you see lickle missy? Say yes! Yes!'”… “I remember Mr. Chin never failed to ‘sweet’ you up by calling you ‘sugarplum’ and melting you with his chuckle and smile”.

This attitude has acquired rich rewards – as Head of the Science Department for the last twenty years, and under his leadership the Department has performed superbly, gaining every year national and regional awards for outstanding student performances in Sciences at both CSEC and CAPE examinations. Without a doubt, this was the reason he was selected as a Master Teacher by the Ministry of Education last year.

Mr. Chin has always been an active member of Staff and a keen participant in any of the functions planned by the H.S.A.. He is a keen sports aficionado and no Sports Day at Campion has passed without his commanding presence as time-keeper and track official.

As we say ‘au revoir’ to Mr. Chin we can only thank him for his compassionate humanitarianism, his dedicated teaching, his tireless readiness to assist those with learning challenges, and the example he has set to all teachers who wish to become ‘remembered’ teachers.

As Mr. Chin retires I have some snippets of advice for him: (1) Life begins at retirement! (2) You’re retired – say goodbye tension, hello pension! (3) the challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money (4) the only trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off!

Mr. Chin we can only finish tonight wishing you all the best for the future. May God go with you and continue to guide you in the future. You deserve rich rewards.

George Boardman has expressed in a succinct way what you have achieved at Campion:

“Sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

Thank you Kippy.