Grace Lawrence, the namesake of our fund, was born in the parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, to two teachers. She started teaching at 17 at Lances Bay All Age School in Hanover but actually began her formal teacher training at Shorted Teachers College at age 21. After graduation, she taught in Westmoreland, St. Mary and St. Andrew before leaving the island for higher studies at one of Canada’s most prestigious universities.
On completion of her studies in Canada she returned to Jamaica and taught for 35 years at the Immaculate Conception High School. Miss Lawrence has always been an active member of the community. While teaching, she held a long and active record of civic participation. Just a few examples: she supervised sleep away camps, taught evening school at West Avenue Institute, supervised Sunday school, lead the Girl Guides Association and engaged in writing questions for the JSC examination. She studied Sign Language during her summer vacations and used her new found knowledge to help students at the Salvation Army School for the deaf in Kingston.
Ms. Lawrence has officially retired from Immaculate, but not from teaching. She has not been content to sit back in a rocking chair. Instead she has continued to work tirelessly to help the community. She learned to play the piano (successfully sat the exams) attended French & German classes and speaks the languages on an intermediate level. She taught at a private high school, Quality Academics High. She conducts daily adult literacy, elementary and high school classes from her verandah school which she names, Hope Ridge Academy. She directs special focus on the not so fortunate students.
Ms. Lawrence has received recognition from local TV stations where she was interviewed and lauded for stepping up to adopt, school and support triplets who requested assistance during a talk show. In 2014, she was honored nationally with a Butch Stewart Community Award in the field of education. This award was created to honor unsung heroes who work every day to improve communities and Jamaica as a whole.
Grace selflessly devoted her entire adult life to the service of students and to the educational development of the Community. It would be remiss not to mention that Ms Lawrence , fondly known among family and friends as ‘auntie’ has been positively involved in her family’s lives . She has raised many nieces, nephews, and housed and cared for many of her friends children over the years. It then is no wonder she has served as the major inspiration for this very needed, Grace Scholarship Fund that offers financial assistance for students who are continuing their tertiary education. Grace Lawrence peacefully passed away in October 2021. Her memory will live on through this Fund.