Joyce Cyrilla Sammy was born on the 9th February, 1935 in Rio Claro.
Her parents were Joseph and Ignacite Toussaint. She had five siblings, Eileen, Harold, Knolly, Sheila and Elaine. Her childhood years were spent in Cantaro Village, Santa Cruz.
Joyce took up residence in Arima in 1974.
The foundation for her career was laid in her early years, and undoubtedly her sensitivity to the needs of others and her ready disposition to counsel and support, were forged in the fires of emotional trauma she suffered due to the untimely passing of her dear mother, Ignacite Toussaint.
Her father, Joseph Toussaint, remained the guiding force in her life and insisted that all his children should have a sound education. The solid academic foundation that Joyce received at San Juan Secondary School was the basis of her teaching career.
It was in 1958 that Paramin Roman Catholic School welcomed Mrs. Joyce Cyrilla Toussaint, an eager and young Assistant Teacher. Even at that time her presence was felt by both staff and pupils. So it was too by a young gentleman, Mr. Roy Sammy who recognised in her the qualities of a good mother and fell in love with her. They married and had three children.
In October 1965, Joyce gave birth to her first child, Eleanor. From there on Joyce was wife, mother and teacher, all roles which she played successfully. She had two other children, Ian and Terence. Her maternal instincts carried over from home to the classroom and the girls of San Juan Girls’ Roman Catholic School were the beneficiaries.
In 1966 Paramin Roman Catholic School said goodbye to Ms. Joyce Sammy. San Juan Girls’ Roman Catholic School was happy to have her join its staff in 1964.
From September 1966 to July 1968 Joyce Sammy received professional training at the Port of Spain Teachers’ College. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and skills and an eagerness to practice them, she returned to San Juan Girls’ Roman Catholic School as a Teacher I. For four (4) years Joyce remained at that institution sharing, caring and educating her charges.
Having built a house in Arima, Joyce transferred to the Arima Borough in September of 1974. She became a member of the teaching staff of Arima Boys’ Roman Catholic School. On that day the Principal, Mr. Sulan Assue assigned her to a second year class.
Mrs. Sammy was a very special teacher who had been gifted to teach the academically ‘weaker’ infants. They appreciated her quiet style of teaching. Joyce was able to get even the most active and mischievous infants to settle down and work. A peaceful calm always pervaded her classroom as she taught her pupils.
This was as a result of Joyce’s cool and unruffled spirit. Two (2) remarkable characteristics of her pupils were their excellent handwriting, and their neat, well organised exercise books.
She retired from teaching in 1990.
Joyce was an avid dancer and singer. She sang in church, the Latin version of the Mass. She also spoke a little patois. It was said her father spoke it well. And she was a fan of Joey Lewis’ music.
Joyce Cyrilla Sammy passed away on 8th September, 2013.
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.
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