Union Island’s Longest Serving Secondary Principal Mourned
Oswald Nanton
March 7, 2023

Union Island’s Longest Serving Secondary Principal Mourned

Oswald Nanton, the longest serving (1991 to about 2001) principal of Union Island Secondary School (UISS) is being remembered as an educational giant.

Under his leadership, UISS surpassed the 200 students proverbial enrolment milestone of being a bona fide secondary establishment; had an expansion of classroom space availability and subject offerings; moved more into the technological error; increased its deployment of specialized teachers; and made strides towards being a safer and more secure campus.

Academically, Nanton was a driving force for increased learning outcomes. It was under Nanton that the science track of subject concentration was added; it was under him that CXC exit results reached and surpassed eight subject passes in one sitting; under him that students were allowed to mix subject focuses (students doing Technical, Business, and Science subjects all together); and under him that an intentional effort was made to zeroin on academic outliers and give them maximum exposure. He was personally involved in students participating in opportunities of growth. These include the Caribbean-wide regional science camp and the Jaycee’s public speaking debate.

Nanton also made an impact on the sports and cultural front. Students continued to be scouted to play Basketball in the United States; the steel-pan programme increased in skill and style with “Mandela Pan” eventually winning the Vincymas Junior Panorama during his tenure; the track and field team held up against the best schools in the Inter-Secondary Schools meets and brought home multiple golds especially the respected and dominant Senior men’s relay team and Senior female sprinter, Joleen Alexander.

Nanton, however, perhaps will be most remembered for his personal touch. He took the time to visit classrooms, speak to students, and counsel through stories. We all remember the sports illustrations, the life object lessons, and wisdom that he tried to pour into us. We will long remember the meticulous care of the school’s lawn, the gentle redirection with his “wooden co-principal”, and the love that he had for students. He will often step from behind the principal’s desk and step into the classroom to teach Mathematics.

In 1998, Mr. Nantan -although he did not normally drive a car while on Union Island- rented a car during the annual road-relay. While many wondered why, it soon became
clear that this was not for his own enjoyment. It was his way of providing ambulance services, which the island did not have at the time, in the case of an emergency. Well,
when I fell at the “crossroads” and an emergency ensued, it was Nanton and his rental car that transported me to get medical care. This was the wisdom of Oswald Nanton.

This was the love for students that he possessed. He was constantly thinking about the students. And today, we can’t help but to think about him- his life, his legacy and his
impact. (Oswald Nanton was laid to rest last Saturday, March,4).

Nkarlo Alexander- class of ’99-