St Mary’s teacher’s funeral on September 23

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, form six students of Saint Mary’s College, CIC, Port of Spain, line up to enter a classroom. – Photo by Vidya Thurab

The St Mary’s College teacher who collapsed and died in school earlier this week, is expected to be laid to rest on September 23.

A school official told Newsday yesterday the service will start at 9 am at the Our Lady of Montserrat RC church in Tortuga.

Reports said Joel Garcia, the PE teacher, 55,was found unresponsive in a room at the school on Frederick Street, Port of Spain, around 4.35 pm on Monday, after complaining of chest pains. He was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital, where he was declared dead.

In a post on the school’s Facebook page, principal Rawle Russell said: “The school community at St Mary’s College will spend many difficult moments grieving his loss. He will be greatly missed.”

In tribute, he added, “We understand the shock and tragedy of Mr. Garcia’s sudden loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. Mr Joel Garcia was a Physical Education teacher at St. Mary’s College with 18 years’ experience. He cared deeply about the well-being and success of each and every one of his students. He was a wonderful, gentle and caring individual who earned the respect and affection of staff and students alike.”

The Ministry of Education sent Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Student Support Services Division (SSSD) personnel to the school the next morning to counsel staff and students after the ordeal.

TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) first vice president Adesh Dwarika commended the ministry’s timely response in offering support so soon after Garcia’s unexpected death.