9 February 2018
Patrick grew up in Portland, Jamaica, in a farming community as the fourth of five children. He knew even before he finished primary school what he wanted to be. He became a teacher at 17 and was a principal at 25.
At 27 he moved to Hillsdale Primary School – which was four times bigger than the school he had been principal at. But that was not what he really wanted to do. In 1980 he made the bold move to move to another country and pursue his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Six years later he returned to his home country and finally took up his life passion – being a church pastor. He was ordained three years later. Being a gifted communicator and educator, as well as pastor, within a few years he was asked to head up Adventist Education for his region and then his country, and surrounding islands in the Carribean.
In 1994 he was back at Andrews University pursuing a PhD in Education Administration and Supervision. It was there I had the privilege of being in class with Patrick. We enjoyed being in the same classes, often interacting with each other in our tutorials and classwork.
I next caught up with Patrick when we flew to Jamaica for our son, Ken and Hopal’s wedding. By then Dr Patick Allen was the president of the West Indies Union of Seventh-day Adventists, the respected leader of the largest denomination in all of Jamaica. He is a cousin of Hopal’s dad, and we were graciously hosted at their home while we were there for the wedding. Imagine my delight to next hear of Pr Allen as the new Governor General of Jamaica, a post he was appointed to on February 26, 2009. Later that year, his Execellency, the Most Honourable Patrick Allen, became Sir Patrick Allen as he was knighted by the Queen on June 12, 2009.
As Sir Patrick said in his acceptance speech, “This is what the Lord wants me to do now. . . my service is in a broader scope.” As Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”
I would love to think that we have students going through Avondale School who may make as significant a contribution as Sir Patrick Allen. I am sure he never dreamed he would become the Governor General of Jamaica. He simply did his best in whatever he was asked to do.
That is all we can ask of each student here. I would challenge our students to do their best at all times. To aim for the stars. To put God first – and see what He will do in their lives.
Dr David McClintock
Principal, Avondale School