The Chatham/Cedros Catholic community honoured stalwart Dexter Mitchell on July 31 at the St Ann’s RC Chapel after Mass celebrated by Fr David Khan. The following is an edited version of an article submitted by parishioner Serene Joseph-Hamlet:
Martin Luther King Jnr said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Dexter Mitchell rose to the occasion multiple times and today his story can serve as lessons to many of us.
Dexter is the last of three boys born to Anne Mitchell. His brothers are Bert and Lawrence. Anne, or affectionately called, ‘Grandma Philo’ is credited for raising a remarkable man who touched the lives of so many people.
His niece Lauren describes Dexter as the most selfless, humble, compassionate person who most importantly, puts God first in all things. He is always willing to give a helping hand in whichever way possible.
Lauren recalled that she grew up hearing about her uncle’s achievements and how tremendously pleased her father was every time he discussed his brother’s accomplishments. Dexter has been a role model to Lauren who instilled in her a drive to persevere and achieve great things.
As a child, Dexter was educated at the Chatham Government Primary School, and he obtained his secondary school education at Point Fortin College. After successfully completing his GCE Examinations, Dexter began to climb the educational ladder.
He joined the fraternity in 1989 as a Library Assistant at St Stephen’s College. After almost a decade, he was transferred to Cedros Composite in the same capacity.
Having the desire when it came to molding children’s way of thinking and perceiving the world, Dexter persevered and soon became a teacher. Due to his passion in the field and by God’s grace, he was promoted to Dean, Vice Principal and Acting Principal of Cedros Secondary School.
He was appointed Acting Principal of Presentation College, San Fernando on July 1, 2013, and in 2014, he became the newly appointed Principal.
Under his leadership, the school was able to achieve multiple academic and co-curricular accolades as stated by his colleagues at the institution. On the academic front, Presentation was able to top the region at CAPE Examinations and receive multiple open and additional scholarships.
The highlight came when the College was awarded the President’s Medal: Gold and Silver for CSEC Examinations in 2015.
In terms of co-curricular, success came early under Dexter’s guidance. In 2013, the football team won its first national league title in over 20 years with more titles coming in 2016 and 2017. However, in 2019 the school was able to win the coveted National Intercol title after over 25 years.
Under his wing, the school was able to win its first Cricket title in many years as they made it to the Premiership league for the first time since its inception.
Many other sporting areas thrived under his leadership including swimming, track and field, badminton, table tennis and even dragon boat.
The music department continues to produce great achievements under his leadership winning multiple national awards and continue to produce world-class musicals.
The College is known for its charitable works and continues to be one of the main highlights of Dexter’s legacy. With Dexter at the helm, Presentation continues to pursue excellence on its quest to becoming one of the best secondary schools in the Caribbean.
An active member of the Church, Dexter has served in various roles over the years. He was an instructor of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and a member of the Chatham Church choir.
To develop and build relationships that represent this aspiration to be a family, Dexter was also the organiser of the St Ann’s RC Church harvest when the occasion arises: a day of church spirit, team pride, delicious meals, fun events, and togetherness.
His role as Lay Minister is where we see that serving God is one of the most important principles of the Christian faith. Dexter willingly assists priests in performing church services, funerals, wakes, thanksgivings, and blessings.
Dexter is the epitome of love in action. Dexter is a YTEPP tutor in Career Enhancement and a tutor for Event Management in Community Development.
He is a member of one of the Atlantic LNG committees that is involved in developing the southern lands of Trinidad in agriculture and other ventures. Dexter was deeply involved in the Cedros Sport Committee as well as the coordinator of the Chatham/Cedros combined community who participated in Best Village for many years.
Dexter was also an adjudicator at Carnival competitions not only in Cedros but in Point Fortin and Siparia as well. Always going above and beyond for others, Dexter was a mentor for boys in the area and to date still helps in this regard. Not only did he offer counselling and guidance to them but also assisted in getting jobs for them so that they can develop their skills.
Dexter, we acknowledge that it is not always easy, but we have seen that even through all the adversity, your faith has grown. Continue to have the courage and perseverance to complete your work here on earth.
At the end of the day, it is not what you have or even what you have accomplished. It is about who you have lifted up, who you have made better. It is about what you have given back.
Thank you, Dexter, for everything that you have done for your family, your school, and your community in which you would have had a positive impact. We love, respect, and appreciate you dearly!