‘A lady of excellence, with the package of beauty and brains,’ were some of the words used to describe Walter Parker Primary (WPP) School District Teacher of the Year, Cassandra Williams.
Williams was honoured during a special ceremony at the Church of God of Prophecy Community at Heart, Coral Road Tuesday (May 14) morning, with presentations, gifts and words of encouragement.
Students from every grade level demonstrated their love and appreciation to their favourite ‘Pacer,’ who sat among her family and friends rendering their support.
WPP Principal Edna Gomez opened the ceremony with remarks, to a capacity filled auditorium.
Gomez briefly described Williams as a woman that embodies excellence, and an ‘extraordinaire’ educator. “Excellence is never an accident, it is the result of high intentions, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution in addition to seeing obstacles as opportunities.
“Recently, at school, we erected a showcase with the caption ‘Spotlight on Excellence.’ Ms. Cassandra, our honoree epitomizes this excellence of which I speak and so today, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, we have gathered to honour this amazing woman of excellence. She knows how much I love her,” she added.
“I have found Ms. Williams to be an educator extraordinaire, she sets and maintains the highest of standards. Her Grade 2 colleagues, with whom she works even more closely, can testify to this.
“Cassandra Williams, this is your day,” said Gomez. “We salute you, we honour you, we love you. We pause to say thank you for all you have done and all you have continued to do as an educator in our school and in this system, and we thank God for your presence in our midst.
“God bless you today, God bless you always and know that we love you.”
Former WPP Principal Jacqueline Pinder shared that Williams has been a Teacher of the Year in more ways than described.
“Brad Henry once said and I quote, ‘A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning.’ This quote describes our honoree today, for Ms. Williams has indeed inspired hope, ignited the imagination and instilled a love of learning in hundreds of students over the years.
“She has been a reliable, hardworking, supportive and a very compassionate teacher. The Bible tells an appropriate story in Mathew 25 verse 15, ‘and to one he gave five talents, to another two and to another one, according to his several abilities. And when he returned he said, well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ All of us know the story of the talents recorded in the Bible.
“We have come to celebrate an outstanding educator who has served with distinction for many years. There is no doubt that Ms. Williams is a very talented teacher and that she has done well and been a faithful and dedicated teacher,” said Pinder.
According to Pinder, for many years parents have requested for their children to be placed in Williams’ class. This, she added, points to her commitment to education and her passion to deliver quality education to all of the students she was able to touch.
“You cannot speak of Ms. Williams without speaking to the discipline of her students. If she was in the room or not, the students knew they had to behave a certain way.
“Ms. Williams has a special gift of setting the right classroom environment where her students were always engaged. She has employed methods and strategies that ensured learning took place, yet there was always fun in the process,” Pinder recalled.
While Williams has been creative and dutiful in her classroom, she has also been effective and helpful to the school in general, serving on many committees.
“This is the mark of a great educator, one who is a team player, one who does not seek attention for themselves. She has molded the minds and touched the hearts of thousands of students. Her work with the Kiwanis and Delta Sigma Theta are examples of her seeking to build her community. Certainly, she has excellent work ethics coming to school early and leaving late.
“Her excellent preparation and organizational skills are exemplified on a daily basis. Her students will tell you that she has high expectations for all. Students of Grade 2 Williams know that they are required to give their best effort. This classroom culture is established from day one. Good classroom management is essential for learning to take place. Present students and former students will tell you, Ms. Williams doesn’t play. She has rules in her classroom and she expects them to be obeyed,” said Pinder. “Ms. Williams we are so proud of you.”
New Horizon Worship Centre Senior Pastor Karol Roache and Williams’ pastor said that the District Teacher of the Year is a, “teacher of the nation.
“There is a special place in the heart of God for children and there is a special reward in heaven for those persons that God has called; those gifted persons, those persons who have been entrusted with the responsibilities to teach, to train, to mentor and to mold our very own children. God’s precious children and Cassandra Williams is one such person.
“Not only do you know about her Walter Parker Primary School, not only does the Grand Bahama district know, but the nations know that she is an exceptional educator and a teacher of stature.”
He continued, “Today we at New Horizon Worship Centre, Cassandra’s church family, join you in honouring and celebrating her in this ceremony.”
While it is true that a prophet is without honour in his own country and among his own kin, Roache noted, “it is quite common for us to give our flowers to the departed who cannot smell or appreciate them.
“Walter Parker you have upped the system, you have gone against the cultural norm, you did not follow the rules of human behaviour and you made this day happen for Cassandra by honouring her and for that Walter Parker, I salute you,” said Roache.
Williams, who spoke briefly with this news daily following the ceremony said, she did not expect such an honourable occasion.
“I am a person that works behind the scene, therefore, it took them a long time to give me this service because I was hesitant; but I am happy that I told them I would go ahead and be honoured.
“Teaching is my passion, I don’t see it as a job, I see it as a hobby. If something is your hobby then it becomes something that you love doing,” said Williams, thanking everyone for their support.