Tribute to Mavis Pollard


BHSOSA is today celebrating the life of yet another of its icons who has passed away; this time it is Mavis Doreen Pollard, our true comrade and true friend.
Mavis was always an energetic, loyal, performing member of the association “in season and out of season”. Even when she was functioning at the Cyril Potter College of Education, she delivered as though she were on spot. She maintained a lively interest in the affairs of BHSOSA. It is interesting to note that on the day of her death, she was very reluctant to proceed to the table to have her breakfast. She was arguing with Magda that she “was hearing the school bell ringing” She was finally persuaded to “forget Bishops’ High School and have your breakfast”.

Mavis was the Staff representative on the BHSOSA Executive Committee for two successive terms while Joyce Sinclair was the President from 1996 to 1998. She never missed an executive committee meeting, nor did she ever miss producing her BHS Diary of events for every term while she was the Staff Representative. These diaries chronicle all the events that took place in the school, term by term. These were done not only for BHOSA, but were sent to all our overseas chapters. They kept everyone informed about what was going on.

Mavis never liked us to be too busy preparing snacks for AGM’s. She always felt that we ate too much and that if we did not expend so much energy in this kind of activity, our meetings would last for a shorter time - though she enjoyed the mauby and the pone. Also, she always felt that we wasted too much time, talking for too long a time, and mostly about trivialities.

Mavis felt very strongly about our honouring our responsibilities in the Association. She was very impatient with non-performers. She stressed that if we promised to do something, there were no “ifs” and “buts”. Our duty was to deliver. We should always do what we promised to do and do it in the time we said we would do it. Her view was that some of us on the executive were too lenient about accepting excuses for non-performance.

Nearly every BHSOSA member who attended our last gathering on Saturday commented on Mavis’ love not only for Geography as a subject, but her love for the teaching of Geography. She made it live in the hearts and minds of those she taught. We all remember that the “earth was a sphere and moved on its axis once in every 24 hours”. For many, Geography was a living thing even after they left school and began to travel and experience for themselves - the fjords about which she spoke, the winds and ocean patterns of the world, how to read a map and the customs, dress and overall culture of the specific countries we studied.
Mavis Pollard taught us about the glaciers melting. So in essence she predicted Global Warming long before Al Gore and the rest of the world.

She had a fantastic memory. At her 80th birthday celebration, my classmates and I were all amazed that she remembered each of us by name even though she had taught us at least 50 years ago. She was phenomenal.

But there is a side of this icon Mavis which continues to surprise old students at our Reunions. At our Reunion held in London in 1996, Mavis sauntered across the catwalk modelling the BHS uniform of the 1940’s. There was rapturous applause and cat calls of “Mavis, Mavis, Mavis. Then it happened again at our Reunion in California hosted by the California Chapter in 1999. This time the cultural item which BHSOSA presented was called “A tribute to Ms. Dorothy King, our former PE mistress. Mavis walked across the stage wearing green PE shorts , a white square neck top, her yachtings and socks….Again even more rapturous applause and shouts of “Mavis, Mavis, Mavis. Mavis was very versatile. Our next Reunion is being hosted by the Toronto chapterin Toronto in August 2008.

In her latter days, this BHSOSA member had become very disillusioned and disheartened over the disappearance or “watering down of the standards” to which she had become accustomed as a student in the early 30’s. When asked by someone where she worked, her terse but full- of- meaning response was “I work in Carmichael Street where Bishops’ was”.

We in BHSOSA are happy for the life and comradeship of Mavis Pollard. We are the richer for it. We shall always remember her.