Tribute to a fellow teacher and great friend, Faith Waite-Odle
Faith Waite-Odle
June 17, 2022
Tribute to a fellow teacher and great friend, Faith Waite-Odle

Delivered by Curtis M. King, Minister of Education at her funeral service

There are some teachers who through their devotion, professionalism and genuine love for students have helped and continue to help students to discover and release their creative and intellectual potential. In short, they help students to discover themselves. These are the teachers we tend to remember the most.

Their considerable influence on our subsequent choices in life put them in the exalted category of great teachers. Mrs. Faith Waite-Odle belongs to this group of teachers.

She was a great teacher, but she was more, she was a great human being, a great friend.

I first met Mrs. Faith Waite-Odle in the year 2005. In that year, she was assigned to the St. Vincent Grammar School as a graduate teacher. Faith had a striking resemblance to another Jamaican lady I had met many moons ago in Guyana. Her mannerism and even her name Faith, were similar.

It was this feeling of familiarity that laid the basis for our friendship. Furthermore, I was her first Head of Department, later her Deputy Headmaster and subsequently, her Headmaster at the Grammar School. And as if those factors were not enough to draw us close to each other, we both taught History and Social Studies. So all the ingredients for friendship existed in the circumstances that brought us together. And what a great friendship we had!

Faith was fun loving, assured of herself, intelligent, thoughtful and humble. She was an extra-ordinary human being. Her deep commitment and professional approach to teaching left a record, a legacy that is pregnant with solid achievements and distinguished performances by her students.

In her latter years at the Grammar School, she was elevated to the position of Counsellor. In this position, she also served with great humility and distinction. I recall her many initiatives aimed at preparing and encouraging the weaker students and repeaters for their eventual success at their respective examinations. I recall also, the many visits I made to her office soliciting advice in how to deal with delinquent students, troublesome parents and yes, difficult teachers. She always at the end of our terse discussions- well terse on my side- send me off in her characteristically cool disposition and soothing Jamaican voice; “Missa King, nah worry yourself man, things a-go work out.”

Faith never saw any chasm between her role as teacher-counsellor and that of a community builder. In fact she taught evening classes to all students who requested such services from her; she provided counselling services for students and adults alike and she immersed herself in the activities of the school’s PTA and her beloved Stubbs Community and Methodist Church. She also found time to go dancing classes and the fitness gym. She was a fitness freak! I often said to her, “Faith, you already fit! Why are you still going to the gym? What happen, you want to crush the Reverend’s bones!”

Little did I know that this wonderful human being, this great friend was to be suddenly withdrawn from this earthly sojourn! Today we celebrate her life’s work.

But even as we celebrate her impactful life on earth, one cannot help but feel a sense of dismay. Dismay that she has gone too soon. But the good Lord knows best. He never gives us more than we can bear.

So let us all take comfort in the words of Amy Hoover, ‘A true friend is never truly gone. Their spirit lives on in the memories of those who loved them.’ Faith’s memories will remain with us for eternity.

I extend on behalf of the entire Ministry of Education and my family deepest condolences to her husband Rev. Odle, their son A.J, her sisters, Sharon and Odette, her father Mr. and Mrs. Waite in Jamaica and all her other family members and friends, including the Headmaster, staff and students of the St. Vincent Grammar School.

May her soul rest in eternal peace.

(Faith Odle was buried on Monday, June 13 at the Mt Coke Church cemetery after a funeral service at the Kingstown Methodist Church).