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“The heights by great man reach and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept were toiling upwards through the night. ” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ) Members of the school board, principal and staff, distinguished guests in the audience and on the platform, parents, guardians, graduate, good afternoon. Our guest speaker for this afternoon is Mrs. Merlette Barrett-Fender. She was born in the parish of St. James. There, she attended the Salt Spring All Age School- later the Mt.
Alvernia High School then went on to further her education at Shortwood Teachers’ College. She has worked at the Jamaica Telephone Company as an international operator. She later acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Grades Administration offered by Western Carolina University, at the Montego Bay site. Her zeal for leadership led her to access the Master of Science in Educational Leadership just two years later with the Jamaican Programme of Central Connecticut State University.
She has worked at the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels of the education system, having the experience as class teacher, subject teacher of English Language and Literature at Cornwall College and as Principal.
She presently holds the position of Academic Vice-Principal of Knox Community College. Mrs. Barrett-Fender posses a great love for her country and as a result has made the decision to remain in Jamaica. She takes great pleasure in working amongst Jamaica’s poorest, to help train and educate them and being the voice for some who are voiceless.
As a member of the Upper St.
James Consultative Committee, she conducts motivational talks to students and teachers. She is the lay preacher of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. She is dedicated to spreading the work of God for the upliftment of people. She possesses a vibrant personality, loves the outdoors, loves good company and enjoys helping others. Mrs. Barrett-Fender believes in having a sound character thus her everyday life is grounded in integrity.
Her community involvement includes being a member of the Friends of the Hospital, the founder of Salt Spring All Age Past Students’ Association, past president and fund raising committee member, speaking at graduation exercises, Patron of the Knox Early Childhood Institute, motivational speaker, mentor and counselor. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; please put your hands together as I introduce to some and present to the others Mrs. Barrett-Fender.
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