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Founder of Metropolitan High School Olivier Cox passes away


Founder of Metropolitan High School Olivier Cox passes away
Olivier Cox (FILE)

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Founder and Principal of the defunct Metropolitan High School Olivier Cox has died.

The veteran educator passed away on Wednesday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after a brief stay there.

He was 88 years old.

Before entering the teaching profession, Cox, attended the Seventh-Day Adventist School and earned himself a diploma in theology at Codrington College.

His goal was to be a doctor, but Cox said his parents could not afford the cost, so they encouraged him to be an apprentice druggist at Noel Roach’s pharmacy in Speightstown, St Peter.

His foray into education began with a temporary teaching stint at the Adventist School, where he was asked to deputise for a full-time teacher who was on leave.

In the twilight years of his teaching career, Cox said of this experience: “I didn’t know I could teach but I did such a good job that the head teacher at that time gave me a good recommendation so that was when I knew I could [teach].”

He acquired further academic qualifications at the Evening Institute and went on to teach at the now defunct Modern High School on Roebuck Street, which was owned by another outstanding Barbadian educator Louis Lynch.

By age 23, Cox had moved on to Federal High School, under the leadership of headmaster Dacosta “Joy” Edwards and during this time also conducted evening lessons at his Peterkin Road, Bank Hall, St Michael home.

Cox later opened his own evening school at Barbarees Hill and, within a short time, he opened two more schools, one of them the Metropolitan High School on Roebuck Street.

That school, which had been in operation for more than 60 years, carried a student roll as high as 800 in its heyday, but that fell to below 30 at the time of the closure in 2018.

Among those mourning the late educator’s passing are his wife Valda, children Joyce, Mona, Carol, Valwayne, Lisa, Karen and Tessa, grandchildren and great-grands, sons and daughters in-law and a host of grateful students.

He was predeceased by two of his children, George and Grace. (GC)