Written By: Jodi Ann Masters- Debating Society Secretary
Much like the wider Jamaica, Chapelton holds many people who are influential and are indeed an asset to their community. These are people who have served in various capacities and who have all been acknowledged by the community for their involvement and contribution. The Clarendon College Go-Local Club has dubbed them “Chap-Icons”.
Our first highlighted Chap-Icon is Mrs Lopez, wife to Mr George Lopez. Mrs Lopez is indeed true to her rural vicinities. Born and raised in Chapelton, she, along with her siblings, are all past students of Clarendon College. She is a 65-year-old retired businessperson. Though she has mainly been a housewife, she worked at the airport for a while and soon gave it up for family life. She now holds the position of being a J.P and has done so for over 30 years, almost being the youngest J.P ever.
Though resting a bit now, Mrs Lopez has been very involved in her community. She was in the family business of running buses for the school children of the rural area, having 8 of 10 children attending Clarendon College herself. Her greatest involvement though has been with the church. Since the time of Mr McMillan, she has been treasurer for the church and is presently the organist, learning her musical skills from a local she called Mrs. Mills. She even told us of how she imparted some of her knowledge to a past head boy of Clarendon College, Sanjay Powell. She taught him how to play the organ and the recorder from “persistence” she said.
Other than those mentioned, Mrs. Lopez has held many other key positions in her community. She has been Chairman of the Chapelton All-age School since 1972 and has been instrumental in getting a new building for the St. Paul’s Basic school. She was also the Chairperson for the Clarendon Public Assistance Committee; this assists the community and basically helps the unfortunate. Mrs. Lopez is also Chairman of the Pinders Valley All-age School and is on the board of Management at the St Monica’s Home.
For all her hard work in her community Mrs Lopez has been greatly acknowledged, having been awarded a plaque from the Governor General for voluntary services and a medal of merit from The Right Honourable Edward Seaga.
Our second Chap-Icon is indeed an icon as his work has made a remarkable impact on the Chapelton community. The man of whom I speak is Mr Plowright, a man very instrumental in the running of the St Augustine’s Place of Safety. He hails from Happy Grove in the parish of Portland and has successfully completed 15, going on to 16, years in his field of social work. He entered the Organization as a youth service worker in Kingston, this he did after leaving High school. His director saw great potential in him and before even finishing his youth service work he was moved to the post of Instructor. He had also attended a school of Art for 1 year, got a scholarship from the government and went to U.W.I to pursue the field of social work. Under Mr Plowright’s guidance the St. Augustine’s Place of Safety has dramatically impacted on the Chapelton community. They have implemented a Poultry project which supplies meat and eggs not only to the home but to the community. Any excess left, which they are unable to consume, is sold. There are also sporting activities as they share a basketball court and a field with the community. There is also a gym which they have offered services for those with bone and muscle problems. They also offer therapeutic services. Along with this there is a counselling department where he offers voluntary counselling. He is also presently starting a counselling program with students from Edwin Allen High School.
There is also a music department, though not completed, they have new instruments and are anticipating it’s initiation. Among their music students are staff members from the hospital and even a local principal. The home also proudly boasts a computer department.
With all the home has done it is only fitting they have success stories to share. One I found really interesting was Mr Plowright’s story of a boy they had who is actually a past student of Clarendon College. He sat a total of eight subjects and received a 100% pass, he got eight A’s. He is presently working at the Kingston Public Hospital as a radiologist. As he did a state board exam in the U.S, in radiology, he is now internationally recognized.
Mr Plowright also spoke of two mentally challenged boys. He made clear his motto that “It’s not how smart you are, it is how you are smart”. These two mentally challenged youngsters took a psycho-educational assessment. Now one attends the May Pen learning Centre and is the head boy and president of the 4-H Club. The other attends the Adolescent Upliftment Programme run by the Red Cross. He is a prefect there and excels in the area of baking.
Mr Plowright has been acknowledged for his contributions by the 4-H of Clarendon, who put on activities for influential people in the community, and by the Faith Clinic Ministry Vocational Institute, of which he is now presently a member of the school board.
Lastly we learnt that Mr Plowright’s favourite plant is the cactus, a plant which survives in dire conditions much like our good Samaritan, Mr Plowright.
Our last Chap-Icon is Mr Hill who hails from Turners, a small distance from his present home, Chapelton. He has now experienced 15 years in his restaurant business and through this has contributed much to the different projects in the community. Through his business he also supplies food for the homeless and has made many contributions to Clarendon College. He is highly involved in the church and, when it existed, was involved in the Citizen’s Association.
Mr Hill also has four different certificates from Clarendon College, for his contributions. He has also been acknowledged as an outstanding parent in the community.
These are our local Icons and we are indeed proud to call them our own, members of the Chapelton community.
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