A tribute to ‘The Dom’
June 29, 2023
Radical faith! Radical witness!
June 29, 2023

Lystra epitomised ‘the Catholic teacher’

Lystra Rosemary Simon died May 8. Her Funeral Mass was May 12; Fr Roger Paponette was the main celebrant. The following tribute was submitted by the staff at St Joseph Girls’ RC.

Lystra Rosemary Simon was born on November 14, 1974, to Juanita Plaza and Gabriel Simon. She was the second of six children and the eldest of three daughters.

Lystra began her teaching career at the age of 18 where she taught briefly at Mundo Nuevo RC then St Dominic’s RC before attending Valsayn Teachers’ Training College.

Lystra assumed duty at St Joseph Girls’ RC on September 3, 1998 and served as a dedicated teacher here until the time of her passing on May 8, 2023. Lystra was a kind and gentle teacher, patient and softspoken to all whom she encountered.

Lystra made the tedious journey from her home in Caratal to St Joseph daily during her 25 years of service at St Joseph Girls’ RC School. Lystra taught several levels across the school over the years but will be fondly remembered for her years as a Standard 1 teacher and for her last years, where she served in the Standard Three department.

During the pandemic, Lystra’s commitment to her students shone through as she didn’t let poor internet connectivity prevent her from being online to teach her girls. Instead, Lystra arranged to teach daily from the parish office of Cumuto RC Church. She would teach the girls and then stay back to correct work, plan lessons, meet virtually with her colleagues in the department to help.

Lystra could sing and would often lead the girls in assembly. She would also be one of those persons to lead the staff in singing at Christmas concerts or retirement functions or any function that staff were called to form a choir.

Another talent of Lystra’s was her aptitude for chorale speaking. She trained many girls to represent the school at various competitions and functions and they developed a passion for chorale speaking.

For our Independence Day celebration last year, she was instrumental in preparing the Standard Three girls with their patriotic piece, and boy, did those girls shine as they performed!

Lystra was our main Mistress of Ceremonies and was always willing to host functions in and out of school — graduation, retirement, concerts, internal competitions. She was brave on that stage with a microphone in her hand and she didn’t miss a beat while being in the limelight. One could say she was in her element as the MC.

At school, she worked alongside the other patrons to ensure our school had an active Red Cross link. As a Red Cross patron, she represented our school link over the years. She would willingly treat cuts and bruises, sprains and bee stings, soothing and calming crying girls during the lunch period and on evenings as she stayed back on afternoons to prepare and correct work.

She had a gift for dealing with students with behavioural challenges. These girls would gravitate towards Lystra as she would chat and listen to them during breaks. Her table was always surrounded by girls. After a while many of these girls would show improved behaviour.

To her colleagues, Lystra was a pillar of strength and faith. She would always encourage you to pray about every situation and she would be sure to pray for you. Lystra was always willing to assist and was known to go out of her way to drop colleagues home at any hour going to Sangre Grande at times before heading home to Caratal.

Lystra would always have a smile on her face, a prayer on her lips, and a song in her heart. Her illness was sudden. As for her death, we were surely unprepared. Her contribution to our school and our lives was tremendous. We will undoubtedly miss you, Lystra Rosemary Simon but we will forever treasure our memories. We know that your pain is no more and that the Lord was ready for you and are certain that as you entered the heavenly kingdom Jesus greeted you and said, “Welcome home my good and faithful daughter.” Lystra was the epitome of “the Catholic Teacher”.