Saturday, Dec 09, 2023

Iconic educator L. Adorothy Turnbull honoured - with renaming of ESHS L-Shaped Building

It was a teary moment for retired educator Ms L. Adorothy Turnbull as showers of gratitude were bestowed on her for her invaluable contribution to the education system in the Virgin Islands for some 50 years.

The crowning moment was the unveiling of the new name for the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) L-Shaped Building, which has been renamed L. Adorothy Turnbull Building.

The unveiling was done on September 6, 2019 at a ceremony that also served as the handover of the newly refurbished building and Service of Thanksgiving on the second anniversary of the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Assisted by Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and Leader of the Opposition Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) Ms Turnbull looked on as the unveiling was done, and again could not resist shedding a few more tears on the historic occasion.

50 years of service

Affectionately called ‘Ms T’, ‘Ms Turnbull’, ‘Tr Adorothy’ and ‘Aunt Adorothy’, the retired educator was described as a teacher, mentor, caregiver, life saver and mother to many.

Having served as an educator in the territory for five decades, Ms Turnbull started her career at the primary level in 1947 and spent 10 years at that level as a teacher and administrator and 40 years at the secondary level, at the Virgin Islands Secondary School and the BVI High School.

According to Acting Chief Education Officer Connie E. George, Ms Turnbull taught Home Economics and was head of Department for the subject. She was promoted to Assistant Principal of the BVI High School where she was responsible for pastoral affairs until her retirement in 1997.

Ms Turnbull also served as an examiner for CXC in the subject of Food and Nutrition.

She was further described as kind, calm, giving, embracing and willing to go beyond the call of duty to help. “She would make you feel comfortable when you came to talk to her, regardless of what it was about…she would remind you of your family line,” said Ms George, who hailed Ms Turnbull as a gem.

‘Honour is not mine’

In her emotional response that also had many wiping tears off their face, Ms Turnbull, as expected, was full of humility.

“This honour is not mine, it is my tutors, Honourable Wheatley (Education Minister) and all the students who passed through the school when I was there. This is your honour. Not mine,” Ms Turnbull said.

The retired educator also expressed thanks to God for this grace and mercy. “He has been walking with me and talking with me and I know that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and that is what I want.”

To all the students who attended school during her time as a teacher and administrator, Ms Turnbull let them know, “Whatever I have done it was from my heart. I am satisfied that I have left the education system better than I met it in 1943.”

Irma took all previous awards

Following the unveiling, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) presented Ms Turnbull with a plaque on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands in recognition of her faithful service, loyalty and devotion to the education system of the VI.

Ms Turnbull said she has had many awards from the Ministry of Education before “but they all went down two years ago so this one that I will appreciate very much.”

Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) then presented Ms Turnbull with a bouquet of flowers, saying not often do you find an educator who has taught for 50 years and is still alive to share the moment with.

Hon Fahie joked that the bouquet of flowers was so heavy that even Irma can’t blow it away.

The Premier, himself a former teacher, had earlier pointed out that it was fitting and by divine design that the 'L' Shaped Building was being renamed after 'L' Adorothy Turnbull.


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