Slain Clarendon teacher remembered as selfless, epitome of generosity

COLLEAGUES of murdered Clarendon primary school teacher Nattallie Dawkins said yesterday that, while not having a child of her own, she showed extra care and compassion for her students and went the extra mile to keep them happy while they learn.

Sharona Bailey, grade one teacher at Four Paths Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon where Dawkins was a grade three teacher up to the time of her death, described her as a “beautiful soul” who was “the epitome of generosity”. Dawkins, she said, was a crucial force that enabled operations at the school to run smoothly daily.

Dawkins was last seen at her home in Four Paths on Tuesday, March 30 by a neighbour, who said Dawkins had gone outdoors to turn off her car alarm. Her motor car was stolen.

Decomposed human remains found in a shallow grave in the Sandy Bay area of Clarendon on April 8 are believed to be that of Dawkins.

Bailey recalled a day when Dawkins took a male student and his brother to the movies in Kingston, and later took them for a treat at a KFC restaurant.

“She told me that one of the little boys wanted to eat the KFC in the car and she said ‘No, bring it home and share with those at home.’ There is a place up there [in heaven] for people like Nattallie Dawkins. Nattallie was a beautiful soul. She was the epitome of generosity.

“I remember when I came to Four Paths Primary she was the first person to ask me where I was going when I was leaving from work. She said, ‘Come, let me give you a ride to May Pen.’ It was my first day here and she made me feel welcomed.

“Nattallie was that teacher who was vibrant. She was involved in every aspect of the school. She was involved in sports day, the feeding programme, the tuck shop and charity in the community. Each year we would find someone in the community who we would [give a donation]. She would be the one who would go and find that person. We had a good bond with Nattallie,” Bailey said, as she fought back tears.

Secretary at the school, Elizabeth Pryce-Young, also remembered Dawkins for her selflessness, saying that Dawkins never backed down from going above and beyond for her students and colleagues.

“She has never said no to anybody. If she cannot do it, she will get somebody to do it for you, or she will source whatever you need. You will ask her something and she will say, ‘Let me think about it,’ and by evening she would come back and say this can be done or that can be done.”

Said Pryce-Young: “She is always going beyond to help. Even when she helps and you come to say thank you, she says, ‘It’s the least I could do for Jehovah’s child.’ If you do her something wrong, she just laugh. She loved children so much. One of the last conversations we had I said, ‘You know yuh going to have to take that little boy.’ She laughed and said, ‘I can’t take him because I don’t have enough time for him. When I am at school, I give him all my time. When school is finished I have other things to do.’

“That is probably why God didn’t give her any [children] for herself, because she has so many things to do. Normally when school is dismissed she doesn’t rush home.

“We worked very closely. She was the teachers’ representative who took the minutes for meetings. She would bring it to me and I type it up,” Pryce-Young said.

Principal of the school, Rose-Marie Logan, yesterday thanked Opposition Leader Mark Golding for visiting the staff to offer of support, especially at what she said was a painful and difficult time.

“We have not been alone. When we look at the show of solidarity and the amount of persons reaching out to us, locally and abroad, our hearts are warmed. We are also mindful that there are several persons right across Jamaica who are praying for us. It is a very difficult and painful time,” said the principal.

“As a staff, we are not doing so well, but we are counting on Almighty God to take us through. Our parents are devastated because Nattallie would have touched everybody’s lives. Our students are grieving; I was in a session this week when the Ministry of Education engaged them in grief counselling. When I sat in that session my heart was broken all over again. I remember one student said she was such a sweet soul and would not even harm a fly. Their hearts are torn,” Logan said.

“I am grateful that the security forces would have captured those hoodlums. These guys were on the run and were just doing their own thing and killing people. I thank everybody for coming out and supporting us as a school family,” she stated.

Golding yesterday called on the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information to ensure it provides continued support to the Four Paths Primary family.

On Tuesday, the police said two men held in connection with the death of the Clarendon teacher had confessed to the killing and had been charged with murder and other offences.

Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of crime Fitz Bailey said Eladio Goulbourne, alias Shortman, a 20-year-old labourer of Sandy Bay, Clarendon, and 19-year-old Marlio Headley have been charged with murder, burglary, robbery with aggravation, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, and unauthorised access to identity information.

Police investigations led to the recovery of Dawkins’ motor car two weekends ago, following a shoot-out with 20-year-old Jeffery Bedward and another man. Bedward died in that exchange and the other man fled.

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