Moriah Govt Primary School pays tribute to Mrs Claudia Cunningham-Benjamin
Mrs Claudia Cunningham-Benjamin has retired after a long and meritorious service spanning forty two and a half years. In recognition of this achievement, the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport and the Principal and staff of the Moriah Government School along with parents, well-wishers, past and present students, villagers and friends gathered at the Moriah Moravian Church on Sunday June 3 to pay tribute to Mrs. Cunningham-Benjamin for her contribution to the sector.
Benjamin retired as Acting Schools’ Supervisor 1 at the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport on May 1, having attained the coveted age of 60 years.
She attended the Moriah SDA Primary School and went on to the Bishop’s High School in 1963 from where she graduated in 1968. She entered the civil service that year and worked at the Ministry of Health.
Her love for the teaching profession and her desire to be a mentor to others was influenced in her childhood by her neighbour Mrs. Albertha Cunningham-Titus then known as Teacher Girlie - who was a teacher at the Moriah Moravian School and also her mother. On October 14, 1969 she began her teaching career at the Mason Hall Government School. Her first posting upon graduation from the Port of Spain Teachers’ College in 1976 was at the Golden Lane Government School.
She matriculated at the University of the West Indies and is the holder of the Bachelor Degree in Educational Administration. Her desire to be of benefit to her community saw her entry in 1979 to her village school, the Moriah Government Primary School where she spent more than thirty years.
Mrs. Benjamin became the Acting Principal in 2001. In 2003 she was appointed Principal and on August 6, 2010 she assumed the position of Acting Schools’ Supervisor 1 at the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport.
She taught at all levels of the primary school and made a tremendous contribution to the lives of hundreds of children as they were being prepared to face life with its challenges. These individuals can be found in all walks of life, from carpenters, and masons to teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers and even ministers of religion. They serve the community, the island, the country and the wider world. All children were encouraged to attain to their maximum potential with Philippians 4:13 as their guide-“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Glowing tributes were paid by Schools’ Supervisor, Mr. Ronald Duke, Mrs. Eudora Williams, retired Schools’ Supervisor, Acting Principal, Ms. Lynette Cox, The Tobago Mission of SDA, the PTA, School Board and students both past and present.
Sheldon Cunningham, who brought best wishes and congratulations on behalf of the past students alluded to the fact that Mrs. Benjamin was a no nonsense person who desired their good at all times and they would always remember her as a serious disciplinarian.
The School Board and the PTA also wished her a long and happy retirement and stated that it was a pleasure working along with her.
Appreciation for her dedicated and outstanding service was tangibly expressed as she was presented with a Laptop Computer and a Yamaha Keyboard. Mrs. Benjamin in her response expressed thanks to the Principals and teachers who would have impacted on life, the support of her family members, the dedication of her staff over the years, the support of the PTA, School Board, auxiliary and ancillary workers, the contribution of past students and the wider community.
She also expressed her sincere thanks to Ministers and members of the Moriah Moravian Church who always acceded to her requests for the use of the Church and its facilities for various activities in the absence of an Auditorium at the School.