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Alloy with the late, Clive Pantin
Alloy with other teachers at the Fatima Class of 1984 30-Year Reunion in 2014
Alloy Lee Ha was a student of Fatima College from 1954 to 1959, during which time Fr. James Ryan was the Principal. Fatima started ‘A’ Levels in 1959 (called Higher School Certificate then) with a group of students, of which Alloy was a member. He obtained passes in French, Spanish, Latin, Mathematics and General Paper, becoming one of Fatima’s first ‘A’ Level graduates, and receiving a special scholarship as his results put him among the top 24 students in the island.
After one year, Alloy applied to the Ministry of Education to teach. His first post was at the newly-built Chinapoo Government School. He followed that with a stint in Tobago heading a privately-run Secondary School, and then at a school in Curepe. He then went to the University of the West Indies to pursue Language Studies. He graduated in 1966 and joined the teaching staff of Fatima College, where Fr. Ryan was still Principal.
Alloy developed a very close relationship with Fr. Ryan, considering him a mentor. Despite his UWI degree and his not having done any Add Maths in eight years, Alloy was appointed ‘O’ Level Add Maths teacher by Fr. Ryan. Add Maths was a difficult subject to pass, but Alloy achieved 100% passes that first year. During Fr. Ryan’s time, Alloy became the Head of Maths and Languages.
Many remember Alloy as a Math/Add Maths teacher, but he also taught English Language, English Literature, French, Spanish, Latin, History and Geography. In ‘O’ Levels, he earned the medal as best Foreign Language Teacher in French, Latin and Spanish. As Spanish teacher he visited schools in Trinidad doing orals in both London and Cambridge Exams. The Ministry of Education even asked him to lecture to the teachers on ‘how to do orals’.
During Mr. Moore’s time as Principal, Alloy was Deans of Forms 3 and 5. As Form 3 Dean, he was in charge of choice of subjects. He was also Dean of Form 6 for a short period of time; then Acting School Principal for a short period between the tenures of Mr. Moore and Mr. Garcia. Alloy was also in charge of the Sports Day, which included cycling and athletics.
Quite a few Fatima teachers were actually students of Mr. Lee Ha. At different times, he taught Mr. Clifford Roach, Mr. Brash, Mr. Pierre, Mr. Joseph, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Ramdass and Fr. Mc Phillip.
He always been an avid sports fan, and as a student he represented Fatima in cricket, football, chess, badminton and athletics. He has also been a keen fisherman and general lover of the sea.
Alloy retired in 2001 after 35 years of service, after a remarkable stint serving under four different Principals. He attributed his work ethic mainly to Fr. Ryan’s guidance. In a 2001 interview, Alloy was quoted as saying “He (Fr. Ryan) went over everything with a fine-tooth comb… And so, from him I learnt to work with the flow”.
Alloy Lee Ha is truly an icon…for all at and of Fatima College.
Tribute to Alloy Lee Ha
By Mervyn Achille (retired from teaching in 2005 after 31 years of service)
The year is 1966 and I am in the Staff Room preparing for the start of the school year in September when a young man walks in. I think he is a student and am about to tell him that students are not allowed in the Staff Room when he introduces himself as a recent UWI graduate who had returned to the staff!
Alloy Lee Ha taught French, Spanish, Maths and Add Maths during his career at Fatima College and excelled at all. Perhaps because he was from the fishing village of Mayaro, he brought us his vast knowledge of the fishing industry (he was also the owner of boats!). We are grateful to him and his family for having us our young staff members spend many Christmas and Easter vacations at the Lee Ha family home at Mayaro.
Alloy’s expertise was not limited to the classroom as he was also a connoisseur of local and English horse-racing. Sports day used to be on a Saturday, but because of poor attendance it was moved to a week-day. With his expert athletic knowledge, the running of the heats and the entire Sports Day fell to Alloy. He used to crown it all by winning the “Teacher’s Race” for many years. We would tease him that he was ‘training at the beach all the time while we were idle!’
His talents were also put to organizing the school to host students doing the Common Entrance Exam. He had to check each classroom to ascertain how many desks were suitable and thereby establishing the number of students who could be accommodated there. Added to this was the time-tabling of our internal exams, which he did for decades.
He served as Dean of Forms 3 and 5 for many years and was the one (together with Brendan Kuei Tung) who introduced the Graduation Mass and Ceremony as it exists even to today. And as Dean of Form 5, he insisted that all repeaters take up a new subject.
Looking back on all of that, we’re happy to say: Gratitude and God’s Blessings to Alloy for a job well done!!
Ad Multos Annos!