Linstead, Jamaica (McN) – Tears filled Charlemont High School Monday as students, faculty and the wife of murdered math teacher Tanijah Howell huddled at the school.
The body of Charlemont High School math teacher, 34-year-old Tanijah Howell was discovered in the bushes of Barrett Hall, St Ann, about 7:30 am on Saturday morning.
It said that the math teacher Mr. Howell, who is known for being a Christian by faith, also did private charter services in his spear time.
When he did not return home on Friday night for the first time in their 10 years of marriage, his frightened wife reported him missing at about 8 am on Saturday, after making a few rounds of calls to try to find him. One hour after making the police report, she got the shocking news no wife wants to hear, that her husband was found dead.
Howell’s body was discovered in the bushes of Barrett Hall, in the neighbouring parish of St. Ann, with two gunshot wounds.
The grief-stricken, Sherine Perry-Howell said when her husband did not come home on Friday night, her first thought was, he was robbed of his car and left stranded. She said she never thought that she would ever get the news that her husband was killed.
The math teacher leaves behind two young sons with his wife, ages 8 and 6 who have not yet felt the impact that their father is gone forever, says their mother.
Mrs. Howell said her husband did not share with her any plans of going to St Ann on Friday evening, from what she knows, he took the boys to school, picked them back up after school, then took their oldest to get a hair cut, they all eat before he dropped hem off at the couple’s church sister.
Also a Christian by faith, Mrs. Howell who says she has to be strong for her boys, says she will miss a humble, loyal, loving, caring, jovial husband who worked hard to provide for his family.
At Charlemont High School on Monday
Students joked as they reminisced on the jovial teacher, who they say always had a joke to share before beginning teaching the subject of mathematics, many say he was a confidant, that they could share anything with him.
They went from laughter as they talked about the good time shared with their math teacher, to grief quickly, and tears filled the atmosphere.
Students spoke highly of his teaching skills, they highlighted that Mr. Howell, would often do role-play with his lessons to make sure that they understood math, and would not move on until they got what he was teaching. For those who did not fully understand a topic, he would invite them to his maths class for extra lessons, which was held at his home in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for students in preparation for Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).
No one at the school was speared from the grief of the death of a man who touched their lives in one way or the other.
Principal of Charlemont High School, Mr. Garth Gayle was almost inconsolable, as he tried to be strong for his staff, and students. It was difficult for him, especially because Mr. Howell, was with the school since he was 19 years old, and he watched him grow-up and developed into the man he was. The principal said that Charlemont High was the only job Howell ever had, and that he was remarkable at it.
Principal Gayle said the school will be doing something in Mr. Howell’s honour to keep his memory alive.
“Something needs to be said about these wanton killings. How could someone seek to snuff out such a life that is making such a positive impact in the community?”asked the Principal of Charlemont High School.
“He was very dynamic and he would always go beyond the call of duty.”
“This is the second sad moment for me in my 30 years of teaching, because I lost a parent to gun violence while I was at Angels Primary and I never thought I would have to relive this moment. But we just have to continue to find that energy and believe in the Lord, and if there’s ever a time we need to bond as family, now is the time,” Gayle said as with tear filled eyes.
“But while we mourn, we will be happy because the Lord gave him to us and He knows best,” he added.