Under the theme: “A Teacher of Excellence: Rewarding Service Beyond Self,” Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS) Teacher Paul G. Knowles received twofold honour as Teacher of the Year during a special assembly on May 31.
Accordingly, Knowles captured the distinguished title of Teacher of the Year for Central Abaco Primary and Abaco District Teacher of the Year for 2017-2019.
A debonair, stylishly attired Knowles was escorted by two students as he made his way toward the assembly area, and was saluted by students. As he took his seat with specially invited guests including his parents, the ceremony was called to order by Alexis Sawyer, Grade 1 Teacher, who served as the moderator.
Following the Bahamian National Anthem and Pledge, Grade 3 Teacher Melvina Black led in the prayer. Grade 4 Clarke took the lead with the welcome and purpose before J’Shon Sands, head boy, delivered a touching tribute to Knowles. In his absence, a recording of Joey Sands’ tribute to Knowles was also played.
Next in line was Raisa Hamilton, Grade 4 Teacher, who gave a heartwarming tribute in her time of knowing Knowles. Hamilton chronicled the journey of their friendship with their first meeting at the College of The Bahamas to being employed as teachers at CAPS. She congratulated him on achieving such a major accomplishment in his five years as an educator, which she credited to God’s favour in his life.
In an emotional selection, Grade 6 student Malena Liberal delivered a spirit-filled liturgical dance to Kari Jobe’s “I Am Not Alone.”
Gift presentations were given in great volume from each grade level with a representative from each class speaking words of encouragement and appreciation to Knowles as they handed the gifts to him in exchange for hugs.
Father Chester Burton of St. John’s Anglican Parish Hall was the guest speaker for the occasion. Using the letters of Knowles’ first name, Paul, he delivered an incredible speech to outline the type of individual he is.
P, he said, is for Knowles’ patience and persistence on his journey to becoming successful as an educator. Amazing and articulate were the next pair of words used to describe him. Father Burton said that Knowles is a man just like his father, Paul Knowles I, who is a man who does things to perfection. He recalled that even during his school days, Knowles was never a student to be involved in trouble while attending Preston H. Albury Secondary School.
“Show me your friends, and I will show you your future,” he cautioned.
The U stood for unbelievable and unique, which Knowles demonstrated through his involvement in Toastmasters, Kiwanis Club of Abaco and as the founding member of the Guiding Growing Guys (3Gs) Program.
His leadership also extends to his serving in the capacities of Chairman of the Prefect Committee; Chairman of the Graduation Committee; Yellow Elder Sports Team Captain; Math, Science and General Knowledge Team Coach; and for his collaboration in the first Eagle’s World Café, a teacher’s resource initiative for networking and unifying programs and academic initiatives in all grade levels.
The final letter, L, represented a loyal leader. Father Burton credited Knowles’ parents for this attribute because they ensured that they all attended church together as a family.
“A family that prays together, stays together,” he admonished. “I look at your parents, and I say thank God. They did what they were supposed to do…I salute you.”
The Culture Club performed in a recitation called “The Builder.”
“Mr. Knowles builded a temple with loving and infinite care; planning each arch with patience and laying each stone with prayer,” they recited. “But the temple the teacher builded, will last while the ages roll; for that beautiful, unseen temple, was a child’s immortal soul.”
Finally, Knowles was called to the podium to give his response.
“I’m very deep in my feelings – very emotional,” Knowles expressed.
He recalled the teachers he first met at CAPS to the students he taught back in 2012 who are now about to graduate. Knowles first served as a sixth grade generalist, and in 2015, he was elevated to the Grade 6 Level Coordinator because of his leadership potential.
“It was all worth it. I thank each and every one of you for any part you would have played in today and in the last five years of my life. If I could change any of it, I would pass up the opportunity. Every lesson, every gift, every smile, every tear, every ounce of laughter, I cherish it,” he said.
“You have helped me, you’ve enabled me to grow and become the individual that I am. Know that I love you all, I cherish today, it has been an amazing journey and today makes me feel extraordinarily special, so once again, thank you so much.”
Principal Beatrice Moxey rounded up the ceremony with remarks of appreciation to Knowles and his parents for loaning such a gentleman to the school. Special thanks was given to the Teacher of the Year Committee for pulling off such a successful event.
A Junkanoo rush out closed out the ceremony, and a luncheon immediately followed the ceremony at St. John the Baptist Parish Hall.