The children of the immigrants
(The "Criollos" (Creole) Generation & Others)
In 1932, Alfred Osborne returned to Panama after studying in the U.S and applied for a job as a teacher on the CZ. By 1935 he became Principal and sole instructor of the La Boca Normal School. Between 1935 and June 1938, he ran the first class of 37 of the brightest and best WI students (all under 25 yrs. of age) that were born in Panama to be new teachers to replace the generation of the elderly teachers from the Islands who were nearing retirement. Some of the students in that class included: Robert Beacher, Emile Benjamin, Emily Butcher, Alden Cockburn, Robert Ellis, Ellis Fawcett, Edward Gaskin, Hamilton Lavalas, Mae Malcolm, Peter Martin, Ashton Parchment, Reginald T. Prescott. He ran a second class from 1941 to 1944 and thereafter the school took in new teachers each year. As a one-man faculty he had to rely on student contributions and self-education. His philosophical direction attacked the methods of older teachers who felt some attachment to British tradition. Many of these students became shakers and leaders and went on to make great strides and build bridges in the Panamanian-West Indian communities.
The graduates of La Boca Normal, who grew up with segregation and demeaning treatment by whites, formed the Association of Colored Teachers and submitted a long petition calling for both academic and vocational secondary education. By 1948, they were able to build WI high schools on both sides of the Isthmus (Rainbow and La Boca City High Schools). During this period, Osborne’s cadre of new educators converted their classrooms into laboratories for competitive and advanced studies in democracy, science, literature and the world-at-large.
In February 2006, the students of the former Silver City and Rainbow City High Schools took great pleasure in honoring all the former administrators and teachers of said institutions who were successful in implementing an effective educational program on our behalf. It was a celebration of the resurgence that took root in the community during the 1940s and 1950s. It's the recognition of the heroism inherent in the struggles and challenges by these bold leaders, to spearhead a vision to determine control of our communities' demanding higher educational needs, aspirations and expectations.
We are truly appreciative of our educators' whole-hearted commitment, dedication and interest; unstintingly displayed throughout our formative, learning years. Let there be no doubt, that we will always remember our Alma Mater and the education it provided with appreciation, great pride, sincere gratitude and sheer joy!