Ivor's departure is a stark reminder to all of us that over the next 15 years, we are going to see a mass exodus of thousands of experienced educators as they reach retirement age. But this dynamic is a discussion for another day. Yesterday was about Ivor.
For the uninitiated, working in an area such as Lavender Hill requires nerves of steel. Besides the psycho-social challenges, the area is often locked into gang violence and its ensuing mayhem. And this terror often finds its way onto the school premises, whether its gang members chasing each other or gang members trying to settle scores by invading the schools.
It is in this environment that Ivor stood tall, albeit it that his physical stature wasn't as imposing. It didn't matter, for he proved that the art of mediation is mightier than any bullet fired from a gun. No event or person, was going to stop him from fulfilling his mandate to provide his learners with a solid education and experiences that allowed them to unlock and display their potential. He believed that amidst this volatility, Levana was a safe haven for its learners.
But there is another side to Ivor, as I'm sure many other ones too existed. Ivor loves music and playing the guitar. I remember with fondness his rendition of a instrumental item made famous by the "Shadows" at a safe schools "road-to-fame" event, held to celebrate the cultural diversity of learners in the surrounding schools as well as their artistic prowess. I contend that it is his ability to make music that allowed him to understand how to work with the learners from Lavender Hill. Let me explain.
Music has an alphabet called a scale. Each note from the scale together make chords. The chords together make phrases. When you know how to make good-sounding phrases, you are well on your way to writing songs. But the note, standing alone, only represents a sound. Its value comes in weaving these sounds into chords (grouped sound) and the many chords then translates into harmonious music. It is not the individual note that stirs you, but the interplay between the grouped notes and chords that give you goosebumps. Ivor understands music. I believe it helped him understand children and how the individual personalities (notes) grouped and interdependent (chords), created magic (unlocked potential) and how beautiful music (children achieving) stirs the soul in communities.
So Ivor, alas, you depart the stage at Levana Primary that you occupied with such dedication. All I ask, along with many others, don't let the music stop, wherever you may find yourself from next week.