December 2020 Volume 16

Juliet Wilson Laid to rest in Hanover

Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
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LATE Kingston College Vice-Principal Juliet Wilson was celebrated as a champion for boys yesterday at a thanksgiving service for her life at the cemetery of Carlisle Memorial United Church in Pondside, Hanover.

The 53-year-old died last month in hospital from COVID-19 complications.

Though the attendance at the service was reduced to 15 people because of COVID-19 restrictions, the tributes hailed Wilson as an individual with a huge heart who genuinely cared for other, especially the boys under her management.

In a tribute to Wilson, read by KC Vice-Principal Everton Burrell, Principal Dave Myrie highlighted her dedication to serving as an educator and impacting the lives of boys so much that she meticulously planned for summer school each year, taking extra care to centre activities on a theme ensuring that a positive impact was made on the boys.

Myrie's tribute also hailed Wilson, a Mount Alvernia High School alumni, as a true “Fortis girl”, as while not many women understood what it meant to bleed purple, Wilson had the purple blood running through her veins as she pulled out all stops to ensure the boys were comfortable. This at times meant providing uniforms, books, lunch money and organising blood drives for the students

But for Myrie, one of his most memorable moments with Wilson might have been a situation that involved the recommended expulsion of a student from KC.

“...The dean once told me of a time when she along with Ms Wilson once took a student to the board to face the possibility of expulsion. Having spent a week together, preparation to present the case against the child who had been breaking almost every single rule in the school for months, severe punishment seemed imminent. Ms Wilson was adamant the student had certain challenges. Not accepting any excuses, the dean presented a very strong case against the young man and was waiting for Ms Wilson to chime in at intervals with what they had prepared. Instead of supporting the case, the dean heard silence, followed by sniffles coming from her colleague who was sitting beside her,” the tribute read.

“Poor Juliet was so heartbroken for the same boy she took to the board that she was moved to tears and rendered completely incapable of saying a word against the young man. Needless to say, the dean, who is also her friend, was so shocked and busy trying to [sic] in laughter that she too was unable to continue making the case. Happily the young man was excused by the board and perhaps so moved by Ms Wilson's display of affection and empathy that he promised her to turn his life around. This student kept his promise and ended up graduating from Kingston College, having been successful in his CXC examinations. So you see, Kingston College has lost an irreplaceable member of staff and as a family we have lost a love like no other,” Myrie's tribute said.

Ricardo Loney, math teacher, acting dean of discipline and quiz coach at KC, who read the tribute from the KC Old Boys' Association, described Wilson as a proud Fortis cheerleader who was compassionate and cared deeply about the welfare of her students past and present.

“She issued many a call for assistance for KC boys and even in one instance the request for the assistance of blood donations for a student who had been shot. She was the manager of the Schools' Challenge Quiz team, holding that position and excelling in the role since 1998...She was a mother to Kara and to a generation of boys who came through her hands. Ms Wilson was indeed like a tree from which we can learn many lessons. She always stood tall and was willing to go out on a limb while never forgetting her roots or missing a moment to enjoy the view. Undoubtedly Kingston College is better having been touched by the life of Juliet,” Loney said.

Wilson's daughter, Kara Edwards, said her mom was more than an educator, a mentor, a great leader and a friend.

“Above all, she was a very dedicated mother, daughter and sister. Her unyielding love and devotion could clearly be seen in two places. Firstly, in the undying love she had for her daughter and secondly the love she consistently displayed for her students, colleagues and dedicated commitment to Kingston College,” Edwards said.

Further, she said her mother, affectionately called Jill or June, was a stickler for excellence and desired that all her family members and students strive for the highest forms of excellence.

Edwards encouraged family members, the KC family and other well-wishers to take comfort in the fact that her mother lived her life to the fullest.

“Purple was more than a favourite colour. She absolutely bled purple and engraved on her heart the KC motto —Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest —The Brave May Fall But Never Yield. A link has been removed from the family chain, one of KC's soldier has fallen, but be comforted that she came, she saw, she conquered,” Edwards said.

Wilson's remains were interred at the family plot in Pondside, Hanover.

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