Path to Munro
Edith “Shottie” Wright came to Jamaica from England in 1882 to work at the Wesleyan College at Barbican, St. Andrew. After four years she came to Potsdam School to be Governess to Headmaster Rev. William Pearman’s children. Rev. Pearman had arrived from England in 1884 with four children Marina, May, Katherine and James. In 1891 she left Potsdam and went to Jamaica College for two years, returning in 1893. In 1895 there suddenly arose the need for someone to manage a crisis and what began as a temporary measure became permanent. Miss Wright became Matron and continued in that post at Potsdam (Munro after 1917) for the rest of her life and what a life.
Quite apart from efficiency with economy as matron, she was quite an influence for good in the school. To quote from one of Headmaster Richard Roper’s annual reports. “Miss Wright was second only to the headmaster in authority and influence.” She was draconian in method but driven by such love for the boys and the school that G.K. Roberts, who was a student then master, sports-master, and acting Headmaster, could say of her, “her name will go down forever as a small woman of strong character who served Munro for over forty years with exceptional ability and increasing love. Old Boys of all generations will testify to that.”
The words of Roper and Roberts are cast in stone- the stones that went into the construction of the Munro College Chapel. Munro boys used to worship either in a classroom or at St. Mary’s Anglican Church about three miles away. Those who lived near the church rode and others walked, one master in front and one behind and if they came across Mt. Zion girls (the original Hamptonians) they walked behind or “passed by on the other side.”
Miss Wright felt the need for a chapel at Potsdam, and started to raise money from current boys, old boys and parents and the tuck shop, and by 1911 there was enough money to start building. The design was done by Canon Melville and based on the church where Miss Wright had worshipped in England. The building process was meticulously overlooked by Mr. Francis Brooks, a master on staff. The cornerstone was laid by Archdeacon Simms in 1911. He had been Headmaster of Potsdam from 1875 to 1883. In 1912 a scheme was initiated, by which boys paid four shillings for the privilege of having their initials carved on a Chapel bench. The Chapel was dedicated in 1914 to “All Saints” by Bishop deCarteret, Anglican Bishop of Jamaica.
In addition to her duties as Matron and central personality in the drive to build the chapel, Shottie Wright read books to the smaller boys every Sunday afternoon. This tradition was continued by Mr. Wiehen who read to small boys in the Lower Third (now 1st form) classroom after Chapel every Sunday morning.
Etched in Glass
In August 1918 Mr. Walton Wooliscroft presented the central stained-glass window behind the altar. The windows on either side of it were given by Miss Wright, parents and old Boys. The other four are in memory of those old boys or Masters who gave their lives in World War I. In the Chapel, a plaque marks the place where Miss Wright habitually sat. In July 1949 the stained-glass window in the Western Wall depicting the Resurrection was dedicated to the memory of Miss Wright. She is buried beside what was the gymnasium, but in a fitting turn of fate to better suit her and her love of books, that gymnasium is now the library.
For these and other reasons, Miss Edith “Shottie” Wright has been inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.