Teacher Flash remembers ‘Kid Bolt’
So the woman who taught the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, happens to have a last name Flash? Talk about irony.
Mamre Flash is a retired teacher who spent most of her 40 years in the classroom at the Waldensia Primary and Infant School in Sherwood Content, Trelawny. She was also principal of the school for some years. Flash laughs that she has taught 'hundreds' of students over the years, including "parents and then their children". But it's obvious who her most famous student was.
"He was always very active, he loved to play and has always been a lot of fun," said Flash, referring to Bolt's pre-race antics. "But he was obedient. He was brought up very strict. His mom was even the parent-teachers association president at one time. He was always well mannered and fun-loving." Flash noted that whenever the Olympics or World Championships come around, there is a noticeable buzz in the community, as persons gather to watch their favourite 'son' dominate the world again.
"During those times, it's like jubilee," her face lit up. "It's usually a quiet place unless there is a major event like that. There's a lot of excitement those times." Flash said she is amazed at the level of publicity the community has enjoyed since 2008.
Apart from teaching practice at Inverness Primary in St Ann, Flash has only taught at Waldensia. Being a relatively small school, it's no surprise she has taught all grades, including during her time as principal. It's no doubt Sherwood Content is home for her.
"I'm never leaving here," she laughed, despite decrying the state of the main road, and the smaller roads within the community. "I was sick two years ago and had to stay in Kingston. I've been to London and America, but I just love it here. I just prefer to visit (those other places)." Growing up, she admits she wanted to be a nurse initially, "but God directed me to teaching". And after four decades in the profession, Flash has seen it all in her days in the classroom, including the transition from the Common Entrance Exam to the Grade Six Achievement Test.
"The GSAT curriculum is too wide," she said. "Especially the social studies. But the first year after Common Entrance we did exceptionally well." She officially retired six years ago, but does she miss the classroom? Well, in a way, Flash hasn't left it.
"I still go in and help from time to time," she smiled. "That's how it is. Anything people need they call 'Ms Flash'. Any child wants to get some help, I'm here. Free of charge."