DID YOU KNOW?

7
DID YOU KNOW?
Lusca
Mrs. Jeanne Lusca Claribel Cox Theophilus

SOURCE: This article was originally written by Dr. Robert Lewis, current Minister of Education, as a eulogy for Mrs. Theophilus.

Did you know Mrs. Jeanne Lusca Claribel Cox Theophilus, who was born in Choiseul on March 8, 1931, was home-schooled by her father until she attained the age of six?

Lusca was then enrolled at the Choiseul RC Girls’ School in Reunion. Since Lusca was an exceptionally gifted child, she completed her primary schooling within five years and began a teaching career at her alma mater at just 11 years old.

Between 1942 and 1946, Lusca Cox had gone through the four-level pupil-teacher stage – pupil-teacher 1 to pupil-teacher 4 and had graduated to the position of probationary assistant (PA). Each level of the pupil-teacher stage consisted of studies by correspondence and Saturday face-to-face classes in Soufriere.

Lusca was one of the few students who followed that regime of teacher education, never to have failed a course during her time. Upon achieving the teacher category of PA, she then wrote the examinations for the Saint Lucia Teachers’ Certificate of Competency. This award certified her locally as a trained teacher and provided her with all the rights to practice as a teacher within Saint Lucia.

In 1958, Lusca was selected by the Department of Education to pursue a two-year teacher education programme at the Erdiston Teachers’ College in Barbados. While she was a student at Erdiston, Lusca was immersed in the academic and extracurricular programmes of college life – she was a regular member of the college choir, she played netball and was a free-performing cast member of the Drama Club.

During that time two other Saint Lucian teachers, Georgina Sargusingh of Dennery and Irvin Dupre of Choiseul, were at Erdiston Teacher’s College. The course of study at Erdiston provided her with a trained teacher’s certificate that widened her sphere of practice, influence and competence in that she was then able to practice as a trained teacher in Barbados and the rest of the OECS countries.

Upon her return from Barbados in 1960, Lusca was appointed head teacher of the Choiseul RC Girls’ School. During her tenure as head teacher at Choiseul RC Girls’ School, Lusca became a supervising teacher, a position which took her around the country where she provided supervisory services in other schools on behalf of the Education Department.

Lusca’s Choiseul of the 1950s and 1960s was filled with much activity that engaged the young Teacher Cox and many other young male and female teachers in a wide variety of sporting and cultural events. In 1964 Lusca Cox was selected by the Department of Education to read for a Certificate of Education at Birmingham University, England. Lusca took every opportunity afforded to her in advancing herself professionally.

Upon completion of her programme at Birmingham in July 1965, she went to Foxlease (the international Girls’ Guides Headquarters) to enhance her skills as a trainer of trainers of the Girls’ Guides Movement. Lusca displayed a passion and interest in all areas of human development and was always ready and prepared to be of service to her humanity.

Upon her return from England in 1965, Lusca was asked by the Department of Education to return to her post as a supervising teacher. However, the local Catholic priest, Father Chauvet, would have none of it because he wanted her to return as head teacher of the Choiseul RC Girls’ School. Father Chauvet claimed that performance of students at the school had fallen below acceptable levels and he felt that Lusca Cox was the only person who could have provided the leadership and stability the school needed at that juncture. Lusca accepted Father Chauvet’s confidence in her and returned to the Choiseul RC Girls School and it was on September 5, 1967 that George Theophilus and Lusca Cox got married.

In 1969, Lusca Theophilus returned to the classroom, this time at the Morne Secondary School where she taught geography and English language. Her time at the Morne Secondary School was short-lived because a year later she had been transferred to the newly established Saint Lucia Teachers’ College (TTC) where it was felt that her skills and expertise were more needed. However, in 1975, Mrs Theophilus was seconded to the Saint Kitts Teachers’ College to serve as a lecturer of education. Her family’s move to Saint Kitts was precipitated by the appointment of her husband to a position at the then Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority in the same island.

Mrs Theophilus and her family stayed in Saint Kitts until 1981 and upon her return to Saint Lucia, she was re-appointed to her substantive post as lecturer of education at the TTC.

A year later she was appointed principal of the TTC at the retirement of Mrs Madgerie Thomas. Mrs Theophilus was affectionately referred to as “Ma Theo” by most of her students at TTC. The TTC was absorbed into the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in 1986 and this changed Mrs Theophilus’ title to dean of Division of Teacher Education and Educational Administration (DTEEA). She held that position until 1993 when she retired from the teaching service.

In 1995 she joined her husband, George Theophilus, at Financial Investment and Consultancy Services Ltd (FICS) as corporate secretary/director, a position she held until her retirement from FICS in 1998.

Between 1998 and 2002, Ma Theo, as she was affectionately called, spent most of her time giving her service willingly to many causes that had an educational purpose – guiding etc.

Sadly, Mrs. Theophilus passed away on October 19, 2012.

SOURCE: This article was originally written by Dr. Robert Lewis, current Minister of Education, as a eulogy for Mrs. Theophilus.

This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is compiled by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected]   

 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Ma Theo was a distinguished and outstanding lecturer at the St. L
    ucia TTC. I am privileged to have been one of her students.

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  2. Great stuff Anselma,well written article.Mrs Theo indeed touched many lives both locally & regionally.She left a legacy.Thanks and keep it coming!

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