Fifty years have handed because the loss of life of the Proper Reverend Percival William Gibson, MLC, DD, BA, CBE, and through that interval far too little has been achieved to teach the Jamaican folks on the life and work of considered one of their best sons.
His contribution to the expansion and transformation of the Diocese of Jamaica is second solely to that of his mentor, the Most Reverend Enos Nuttall (1842-1916), who grew to become the primary Archbishop of the West Indies.
Nevertheless, his pioneering work within the subject of training stays unequalled, and isn’t prone to be outmoded. He was the founding father of Kingston Faculty, Glenmuir Excessive Faculty, Bishop Gibson Women’ Faculty and Church Lecturers’ Faculty. Throughout his 30-year tenure as headmaster of Kingston Faculty, he persistently nurtured a management cadre from amongst his workers which produced 17 headmasters for different faculties. These included Osbourne Bell to St Jago; Sydney Scott, Glenmuir; E A Barrett, Cornwall; Joseph Earle to Calabar; S W Isaac-Henry to St Andrew Technical; Eric Frater, Rusea’s; L A Prescod, Mannings; Mortimer Geddes, Titchfield; Edgar Cargill, St Mary Excessive; and W B Johnson, Holmwood.
It’s inexplicable that regardless of the nationwide impression of Percival Gibson’s life and work, there isn’t a printed biography of him, and his identify doesn’t seem among the many recipients of nationwide honours.
Percival William Gibson was born on September 15, 1893 to William Gibson and his spouse Esther. The Jamaica through which he grew up was now not the ‘jewel within the crown of Imperial Britain’. The collapse of the sugar business within the second half of the nineteenth century had led to extreme financial recession. As unemployment soared, Jamaicans emigrated to Panama, Costa Rica and Cuba searching for work.
The Gibsons have been a working-class household who barely made ends meet. Percival was the third of 4 kids. Louise was the eldest, adopted by Ernest, and Gwendolyn was the fourth. William Gibson, who labored as an artisan on the Cavalier Waterworks on Maurescaux Highway, was the only breadwinner. Happily, his job got here with a three-room wood home positioned on the property.
Neither Louise nor Ernest went to highschool, because the household earnings simply couldn’t afford it. Percival obtained his elementary training on the Mico Practising Faculty, and in 1906 at age 14 was within the first batch of scholars to sit down the scholarship examination for St George’s Faculty and positioned first. His sister Louise would later mirror: “We have been so poor that if Percival had not received the scholarship, he by no means may have gone to a highschool”.
His enrollment at St George’s marked the start of an excellent tutorial profession. In his 4 years at this establishment, he by no means got here lower than first in any topic and scored not less than 90 per cent in each topic. In his third 12 months he achieved an unprecedented 100 per cent in 4 topics and 95 per cent within the different two. His fixity of objective and sustained pursuit of excellence locations him in the identical mould as his modern, Norman Washington Manley, who credited his personal excellent achievements at Jamaica Faculty with what he described as “an actual capability to work arduous for what I wished and…an unquenchable perception in excellence”.
In 1910 Percival Gibson graduated from St George’s Faculty, and that very same 12 months accepted Christ. Two years later, he accepted a publish at Church Home, the seat of the Anglican Diocese, and through his tenure he got here underneath the affect of Enos Nuttall, who over time grew to become his mentor and inspiration. Nuttall had been Bishop of Jamaica since 1881. He additionally served as Archbishop of the West Indies, chairman of the Faculties Fee, chairman of the Board of Training, chairman of the board of administrators of Mico and Shortwood Instructor Coaching Faculties, member of the board of administration of the Agricultural Society and chairman of the Poor Aid Committee.
After the 1907 earthquake destroyed Kingston, it was Nuttall who chaired the committee for the rehabilitation of town. Up till his loss of life in 1916, he exerted the only best affect on Jamaica’s academic insurance policies. This was the person who Percival Gibson sought to emulate.
In 1912, at age 19, he entered St Peter’s Theological Faculty and was ordained in 1917. His first publish was the curacy at Golden Grove in St Thomas. On December 21, 1918 he was ordained a priest on the Kingston Parish Church and in 1919 was appointed curate at St George’s Anglican Church in Kingston. His sermons there grew to become a weekly attraction and he energised the spiritual lifetime of town by broadening the scope of his ministry to incorporate the staging of performs and concert events and organising the St George’s Males’s Debating Society. His efforts earned him the Musgrave Gold Medal in 1922.
The identical 12 months that Percival Gibson entered St Peter’s Theological Faculty, he additionally enrolled as an exterior pupil on the College of London. He gained the BA in 1923, and BD (Hons) in 1924, and continued to reveal a capability for classical scholarship that will solely exceeded by the acclaimed Monsignor Gladstone Wilson, whose achievements as a classical scholar are but to be outmoded by any Jamaican.
In 1924, at 31 years of age, Percival Gibson subordinated his tutorial profession and the sure prospects of additional elevation as a priest to the founding of Kingston Faculty. There have been solely 4 excessive faculties for boys within the capital metropolis at the moment. Essentially the most prestigious was Jamaica Faculty, the protect of the planter/service provider class with an enrollment of 134 college students, nearly all of whom have been boarders paying £20 per time period. The opposite three faculties — Wolmer’s, St George’s and Calabar — had a mixed enrollment of simply over 1,000 boys. It was to satisfy the urgent demand for highschool training for boys from working and middle-class houses that Percival Gibson, with the help of Louise, his sister, bought the premises at 114 ¾ East Avenue and set about renovating the constructing for the primary 49 boys to enter Kingston Faculty on the morning of Thursday, April 16, 1925. The charges, which have been set at £12 each year for boys underneath 14 years, and £14 each year for these over 14 years previous, made high quality highschool training inexpensive for working and middle-class households.
As headmaster of Kingston Faculty, Percival Gibson grew to become “Priest”, first to the boys and over time to the broader group. From the outset “Priest” established that the mission of Kingston Faculty was to supply graduates, not solely proficient in teachers, however Christian gents and nation-builders as properly. By the tip of the primary decade the varsity was properly on its method to realising its mission. In 1929 eight boys sat the Senior Cambridge Examinations and all eight have been profitable with two, A F Brown and F W Williams, putting second and third in Jamaica. Of the 16 boys who sat the Junior Cambridge Examinations, 14 have been profitable. In 1931, simply six years after the varsity was established, the Division of Training elevated Kingston Faculty to a Grade One Grant-aided secondary faculty. In 1934 Charles Burgess received the £80 scholarship to report the varsity’s first success, and two years later L L Murad was the Rhodes Scholar.
For Percival Gibson, organised sports activities was a medium for constructing character by inculcating “constructive virtues of loyalty, unselfishness, cooperation, a way of honour and the capability to be an excellent loser”. The diploma to which he succeeded in was evident in a vital soccer match between KC and Calabar in 1950. In that match, Jerome Walters, taking part in at outdoors proper for KC, took a ball from outdoors the road and beat the Calabar goalkeeper to attain what would have been the successful purpose. Nevertheless, even because the KC boys cheered, Walters knowledgeable the referee that the ball had gone outdoors the road and the purpose was disallowed. The Each day Gleaner described the incident as “a gem of sportsmanship”.
Percival Gibson took a decided stand in opposition to racism. Up till 1950 no African–Jamaican had been employed in any of the island’s business banks. That 12 months, in response to a request from Barclay’s Financial institution for a clerk, Gibson wrote a letter recommending Roy McFarlane, considered one of his sixth formers for the place, and indicated that if he was denied employment on the premise of color, he would take up the matter from his pulpit. Roy McFarlane bought the job and have become the primary African-Jamaican to be employed in Barclay’s Financial institution.
I first heard Bishop Gibson preach at Christ Church, the Anglican Church in Winery City which my household attended. By then he had been elevated to the Episcopate as Suffragan Bishop of Kingston in 1947. Nevertheless, my first assembly with Bishop Gibson was once I went right down to KC to take the doorway examination. I used to be instantly impressed by the extent to which his commanding presence exuded authority regardless of his small stature. I felt intimidated in his presence.
There was a sure inevitability about my attending Kingston Faculty, for the truth that my brother Huntley Neita had been enrolled there from 1946. On January 5, 1951, I took my place with the opposite new boys carrying my faculty tie and searching ahead to life in an establishment at a time when the establishment was experiencing its golden decade. This era of unprecedented achievement began in 1949, the 12 months when KC received the Manning Cup, the Daylight Cup and the Jamaica Scholarship. The Manning Cup remained at Clovelly Park for 4 consecutive years and KC once more emerged winners in 1957 and 1958. KC additionally claimed the Olivier Protect in 1949, 1952 and 1957. Throughout this era, I had the fun of seeing my brother rating the successful purpose in 1952 and the satisfaction of being a member of the 1957 and 1958 groups. I even have the distinct recollection of seeing Freddie Inexperienced, Barrington Watson, Lawson Douglas, George Thompson, and Roy Mclean set up their superiority on the sector of play.
The golden decade was equally productive in teachers with Evan Morris successful the Rhodes Scholarship in 1949; Norman Rae, the Jamaica Scholarship in 1950; David Kirkpatrick, the Jamaica Scholarship in 1953; D Jones, the Jamaica Scholarship in 1954; F Smith, the Centenary Scholarship in 1955; Edward Clarke, the Jamaica Scholarship in 1956; and Lloyd Demetrius, the Jamaica Scholarship in 1957.
In cricket, the Daylight Cup victory in 1949 paraded the talents of the immortal O’Neil Gordon “Collie” Smith, who went on to play for Jamaica and the West Indies, and who epitomised in each manner the Christian gentleman and nation-builder that Bishop Gibson wished each KC boy to be. The Championship Cup for schoolboy athletics was the digital property of KC in the course of the golden decade, as the varsity emerged winners in 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1957.
In 1955, Bishop Gibson’s tenure as headmaster of KC lastly got here to an finish when on December fifteenth Percival Gibson was elected the primary African-Jamaican Lord Bishop of Jamaica. That 12 months he was additionally appointed a Member of the Legislative Council. His elevation fittingly got here in the midst of the golden decade. For 30 years he had inculcated in generations the values that will make us, not solely profitable in our particular person areas of endeavour, but in addition builders of a greater Jamaica. These values have been the substance of his exhortation each morning in chapel. Throughout his tenure he taught at a while, each kind at school, and imparted with readability a variety of topics. Even when he grew to become Bishop of Jamaica he nonetheless got here again to highschool and taught spiritual data.
All of us want a great, and an instance worthy of emulation to awaken our spirits to understand the latent powers inside us. For me, and 1000’s of different KC boys, “Priest” symbolised each. For us, he grew to become that image of accomplishment, of mastery over destiny and conquer adversity. In consequence, KC previous boys have an unrelenting ardour for his or her faculty and wherever we meet we greet different with our motto “Fortis” which is the guideline of our lives. “The courageous could fall however by no means yield”.
Immediately, official statistics present that there are over 300,000 younger Jamaicans between the ages of 15 and 34 who’re neither working nor in search of work and are liable for 75 per cent of the murders and different felony offences dedicated. Most of those younger Jamaicans attended secondary faculties for 4 years or extra, however left with out certification in a single topic. We pay the worth for not making certain that our faculties, the place our kids meet for eight hours every day, are led by principals who share the imaginative and prescient and values of Percival William Gibson.
Ok Churchill Neita is a veteran attorney-at-law
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