JTA CELEBRATES Founder’s Day at 53 in style

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spectacular, exquisite, appropriate, timely generally well organized and deservedly well supported ceremony.

These are only some of the comments made by some of the persons who either attended the commemoration function at Mizpah in Manchester or watched the Live facebook stream on Jamaica teachers, provided by the JTA Communications Department.

On Monday, April 3, 2017 the JTA organized  and  hosted what could be best described as one of the most auspicious events ever as it catapulted the organization’s image into the next fifty years.

The JTA was born out of the union of five teachers’ Unions in 1964. Then the founding fathers came together in a demonstration of solidarity to form the JTA at a function at the Excelsior High School. The five organizations were  the Jamaica Union of Teachers, the Association of Headmasters and Headmistresses, (H2H2); Association of Teachers in Technical Institution (ATTI); the Association of  Teacher Training staffs (ATTS); and the Association of Assistant Masters and Mistresses (A2M2).

“I too was around in 1964 when the Unions decided to merge to form the JTA and I was the Secretary General in 1994 when the monument at Mizpah was erected. My presence at this re-dedication ceremony is to show solidarity with the team of current and past presidents participating in this historic event”, said Trustee Woodburn ‘woody’ Miller.

“I believe this is a fitting way to celebrate the JTA 53rd anniversary”, he added.

Meanwhile, a former President of the JTA Cyril Lebert, who was on hand to witness the extraordinary day’s activities said “I was JTA President In 1994, and so I am quite pleased that the Association has taken steps to refurbish the monument. I am extremely impressed with the words inscribed, as in my mind they are very appropriate to commemorate the anniversary”.

He reminded that the monument was erected in 1994, to commemorate the 100th year of teacher unionism in Jamaica. “So what we did today, was significant in that we commemorated two momentous occasions; the start of Teacher Trade Unionism and the rise of the JTA”, remarked Mr Lebert.

Mr. Lebert who now serves  the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Cooperative Credit Union (JTACCU)as  treasurer, added that he was also very impressed with the quality of the function and the participation of the audience. “It would be a good thing if some of the performances could be exposed to the wider society, he added.

Mr. Garth Smith a retired principal and former JTA parish president for Manchester,  (1983, 1986 and 1989) said “ My attendance at the function was somewhat symbolic, as  I stood at the very spot In 1994 when the monument was first unveiled. This founders day function  is a history lesson for all of us, but especially for the younger teachers who would not have been au fait  with the early beginnings of the JTA and the role that the pioneers from Manchester would have played”.

According to Mr. Smith, “the rich heritage of the JTA was on display today (April 3, 2017); the guest speaker was on point (appropriate) as he delivered in his own unique way a history lesson that captivated both young and old ,but more so the youth and children, giving them an experience of a lifetime and reason to be appreciative of the country’s rich history”.

“I felt very great to see history being unfolded and more so it happened in the parish that I once led”. Said Smith 

Beaming with pride and joy at the magnitude of the event was also current head of the Trustee Board, educator par excellence Dr. Polly Bowes Howell.

According to her, I am proud to be part of another historic moment, the 53rd anniversary celebrations for the JTA”.

“ Years to come, I will have all the pictures to look back on; I will remember all the songs, the skits and performances of the students of Church and Bethlehem Teachers’ Colleges and the children of Mizpah Primary. Everything just fitted into their rightful place and that just gives me a sense of true achievement of the JTA” added Bowes Howell.

“From a relatively small beginning we (the JTA) have grown to be a strong advocate for our twenty four thousand plus members and the product called education. Long Live the JTA as we continue to “Unite and Serve” Trustee Bowes Howell echoed.

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