The name Henry Peters has been associated with several facets of life in the town of Arima.
Henry Alexander Peters was born on October 20th 1922 to John and Marion Peters.
His father was a carpenter who migrated from Saint Vincent around 1892, and had met a young lady from Tobago whom he married and settled in the town of Arima. They had two girls and one boy. As the firstborn son, at a very early age, he accepted the responsibility of caring for his two younger sisters and throughout his life, he saw himself as the big brother of the family.
Henry attended the Arima Boys’ Government School where he was a classmate of the famous Lord Kitchener.
At a very early age his academic potential showed and though he excelled at the primary school level, there were no opportunities for him to proceed further given the financial state of his family. He was however appointed a Monitor in a primary school and was later chosen to attend the Government Training College to be trained as a teacher.
Henry left a blazing record at the Training College topping the Graduation Class in several subject areas. The Certificate stood framed forever in his home as an inspiration to his children that hard work and commitment generate results.
After graduating from Training College he started his career as a primary school teacher, a career that took him to several communities in Trinidad and which affected the lives of thousands of individuals.
He loved sport and played both cricket and football. Indeed it was through sport that he met his first wife. However, tragedy struck early in his marriage as his young wife died just after the birth of their first child, Marion. It was devastating to him, having lost a father early in his life and, having been plunged into being responsible for the welfare of his mother and two younger sisters, he now had a little baby girl to whom he now had to be both father and mother.
Several years later he would meet a fellow teacher named Fitzgerald Gilkes who also loved cricket, They would develop a friendship that ended in him finding his second wife, Denise Gilkes, Fitzgerald’s daughter. They immediately fell in love and got married. They had four children, Maureen, Anne, John and Charles Ainsworth.
Henry Alexander Peters’ teaching career spanned over 44 yrs. He taught at the Arima Boys’ Government and was Principal at the Blanchisseuse Government Primary, the Las Lomas Primary School and finally at Arima New Government School. Several of his students have gone on to become Government Ministers, University Lecturers, Medical Doctors, Engineers, Business Professionals, Teachers, Craftsmen, Lawyers and Senior Public Servants.
All were left with one core principle that hard work and dedication bring success.
Henry lived in an era where the biblical principle of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ was evident in the school system.
He was noted as a disciplinarian who would not spare the rod and spoil the child, including his own, within the school compound.
He spent several years as a lay minister at The St Jude’s Anglican Church where he ministered to the spiritual needs of the parishioners. Above all, on his retirement, he contributed a large portion of his gratuity to the renovation of this church. He was a man of deep prayer and took his spiritual vocation quite seriously.
Henry Alexander Peters passed away in June 1989.
By Kazim Abasali
Kazim Abasali is a multimedia artist who enjoys creating his empowering and inspiring art, music, videos, ebooks, published articles, and websites, for himself and others. To access his artistic projects, kindly visit his website.
“Empower with Art” – Hearts empowering lives.