Campion College honours Wilbert Parkes today
Wilbert Parkes, in whose honour Campion College will this morning name its cricket field, has had a stellar career as an educator, coach, sport official, and journalist, stretching more than three decades.
A citation prepared for this morning’s ceremony, which will be read by parliamentarian Julian Robinson — one of the organisers of the event and a Campion College alumni who played on the school’s cricket teams coached by Parkes — gives great insight into the man who, in 2013 was invested with the Order of Distinction (Officer class) for his contribution to sport by the Jamaican Government.
Wilbert Hamilton Parkes, the citation states, joined the staff of Campion College in 1967 as a geography and integrated science teacher. In 1985, he was appointed as the head of the Physical Education Department, a position he held until his retirement in 2000.
During his tenure as coach, the school’s cricket teams won the Sunlight Cup — the premier competition for secondary schools — in 1987, 1988 and 2015; the Tappin Cup, which is the limited overs competition for secondary schools, in 1989; as well as the Colts and Under-14 competitions in 1988.
Parkes also coached and produced a number of players who represented Jamaica at the Under-19 level, the senior team and the West Indies team.
Additionally, he coached the National Senior Women’s cricket team from 1999 to 2005.
In 2000, Parkes founded the New Berry Women’s Cricket team which has since won the Senior League three times, produced six players for the national team, and one for the West Indies Women’s Cricket team.
Parkes also coached the Jamaica Defence Force cricket team that won the Neal and Massy Limited Overs competition.
He gained certification as a track umpire in 1971 and officiated at the annual Boys’ and Girls’ Championships and major athletic meets and championships at the National Stadium from 1971 to 2000.
A self-taught journalist, Parkes covered sport for a number of media organisations, including the now defunct Jamaica Daily News, the RJR Group, and the Jamaica Observer for over 30 years.
The citation also notes that after the death of his wife in 1985, Parkes single-handedly raised four daughters who have all become successful in their respective fields of endeavour.
He has been a mentor, guide and friend to scores of Campion College cricketers and students, and many of these cricketers attribute their success in life, on and off the field, to his guidance, tutelage and admonition to “play straight”.
Declaring that the Campion College cricket field will be officially named the Wilbert Parkes Oval, the citation states that he is being honoured for his “outstanding contribution to the development of cricket at Campion College… his contribution to the game of cricket in Jamaica and further his contribution to his country and humanity as a teacher, coach and friend”.
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