Teaching may be a job for some, career for others, but for a special few it can be an epic journey.
This is the story of the past four years for Mrs Creese-Lee, a primary school teacher who began in 2016 with a class of bubbly 8-year-olds, now adept students of the 2020 graduating class. Mrs Creese-Lee has taught at St Gabriel’s Girls’ Primary School for over a decade, having the pivotal role of guiding young students through the transition of becoming responsible, confident and focused Standard 3 students prepping for Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA). However, with this class she walked, ran, crawled and flew for four years towards their final SEA days. Four years together, she bore witness to many of their successes, growing pains and even sorrows. As parents, we have observed Mrs Creese-Lee being strikingly similar to an army sergeant who had a well-trained platoon. Respect, love and appreciation for their teacher were displayed in their mannerism and even their speech. Everyone knew who Mrs Creese-Lee’s girls were.
Mrs Creese-Lee made the Catholic faith the centre of all class activities. Her students knew that problems, moments of thanks and praise were all touched by God. Running to the school’s chapel, squeezing their rosaries in their pockets and a prayer always ready are but a few characteristics of her students. As we know, having a close relationship with God brings the need to stretch and reach for the mountain tops. Mrs Creese-Lee had never before led a class to The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, NGC Sanfest, yet they won ‘Best Choral Speaking School’ in 2018 and 2019, leading toward the achievement of ‘Best All-Round School’ in 2018 and 2019. She graciously accepted the 2018 award for ‘Most Valuable Sanfest Teacher’ in 2018. Her students, who had limitless talents, received numerous awards for choir, steelpan, short story and art with many of them entering five or more categories. Her girls learned that through hard work, practice, and a sense of style one could accomplish anything; they need only try, and boy did they try!
When COVID-19 shut down schools, Mrs Creese-Lee was at the forefront. She assured her girls and their parents that the pandemic only meant that the length and the bumps of the final journey will be different, but not the goal. She tackled online teaching with the passion and determination we have come to admire and prepared her girls for the SEA exam. She was there, by the gates, when they returned to school. She was present for their exam with prayers and faith—an icon of confidence. At this time, it is indeed sad that we cannot hug her and say thanks to her face to face. She has been a part of our lives for four beautiful years—always the flagbearer, cheerleader, confidante, and pioneer in our girls’ lives.
Mrs Creese-Lee, we celebrate you on this milestone. Forever you will be a pillar of God’s generosity and blessings. You have touched the hearts of not only your girls, but also their parents. You have been consistent and unfailing in your devotion over the years. Your professionalism, kind heart and conquering nature radiates through everything you touch and every obstacle you face. We are proud to have known you and be blessed by your spirit. If your girls take but a piece of your character, then they are well on their way to becoming successful adults.
— Parents of Standard 5, ‘Creese-Lee’s Class’ 2016-2020