Career educator still in love with teaching

July 31, 2018
Vernal Norman (right) receives the Governor General's Gold Medal in 2011 for services to education from Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

"In spite of age, you can do anything once you have the will power."

This is the mantra by which 93-year-old Vernal Norman lives. At 90, Norman was among 15 graduates who were awarded a certificate of completion for participating in a 12-week computer course at the Manchester Parish Library.

"I learned from a friend that they were having computer classes and I just attended," he said.

Norman was born in Fruitful Vale, Portland, but he later fell in love with Manchester.

He is a graduate of the then Mico College in 1948 and he has been teaching ever since.

He is also a graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he completed his bachelor of arts general (honours) degree in English, history, and commerce in 1968.




He later received a fellowship offer from the Australian government to study at the International Training Institute in Sydney.

He has served in a number of capacities in the education field, including teacher, principal, education officer, and lecturer.

It is obvious that Norman eats, sleeps, and breathes education. He still enjoys teaching.

"I like to give them (his grandchildren) a little extra while I'm here, since I'm not too old to see, to read, and write. I call it a little fertiliser," he said.

He may be short in stature, but he was a giant in the education system. Reminiscing on his earlier years as an education officer, Norman said, "I sometimes, smile at the idea of when my car pulls up to a school and someone would whisper telling another, 'the little man coming'.

"Having a good relationship with people is priceless because people work and enjoy what they are doing when you encourage them instead of finding fault. You can inspire people and encourage them to improve themselves," he said.

As a result of his phenomenal contribution to education, Morman has received a number of accolades.

He was the Jamaica Teachers' Association Golden Torch Awardee in 1995 for outstanding services to education in Jamaica, and he was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal in 2011 for services to education.

Norman was recognised by the May Day High School for years of dedicated service to the institution.

He has also been recognised by his church, the Emmanuel Missionary Church, for over 50 years as a father and a devoted husband and over 25 years of distinguished service as an elder.

His secret to staying young and enjoying a long life is simply "moderation in all things".

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