• Today
    December 16

  • 08:26 AM

Sybil’s still in school at 90

GERCINE CARTER, gercinecarter@nationnews.com

Added 09 September 2019

sybil-leacock-090819

At age 90, Sybil Leacock intends to keep going, as “numbers don’t frighten me”. (Picture by Krystal Hoyte.)

A school day finds Sybil Leacock in the classroom doing what she has been doing for the last 72 years – teaching.

At age 90, nothing can keep her away from Leacock’s Private School Inc., which she founded in 1946.

Today, the Farm Road, St Peter institution has a roll of 50, half of its 100 student capacity, and Leacock still approaches the job of shaping young minds with the same passion as when she was first influenced to take on just one student to begin her teaching career at age 17.

She continues to do it her way, the “old-time way”, teaching students the basics – “their tables; how to add and subtract”, employing a hands-on approach, and making one-on-one contact with students.

For her, education is key to progress and this is the reason she has invested her life in ensuring that countless children from the north and beyond receive a sound educational grounding.

Leacock grew up in The Whim, St Peter, with a single mother who worked for five shillings a week as a domestic servant to support her family after the early death of her husband.

“When we were in primary school, we went from Infants to Class 4,” she recalled, and school ended for many children at age 14. She was bright and completed that early phase at St Peter’s Girls’ School at age 13. For a period after that she continued her lessons at a desk and chair provided by the head teacher, on the school’s platform, until she was taken in at the Muriel Archer Private School located in the St Peter community.

Reflecting on that part of her journey, Leacock said: “My mother, a domestic, could not afford the $23 a month school fees at Alexandra School.” However, the teenaged Leacock went on to sit the Junior Cambridge examinations (the GCE equivalent of the day).

In the meantime, she would help teach other children at Muriel Archer Private School and her performance must have impressed because it was soon after unfortunate circumstances forced the closing of that school, that she was asked by a parent to teach their child.

In the library across the yard from her school, there sits an old-fashioned wooden table, worn with age and use, and a chair which Leacock has preserved as a reminder of those early days when her classroom was the verandah of a nearby Farm Road house. Word of her teaching skills spread and more and more children came, filling the gallery and forcing a move to more spacious accommodation. (GC)

Subscribe now to our eNATION edition for the full story.

For the latest stories and breaking news updates download the Nationnews apps for iOS and Android.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Are you being cautious with your Christmas spending in 2019?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM