It is not often that someone comes along that leaves lasting impressions on everyone she meets. Jennifer Keene Gordon was one such person.
Dr. Gordon joined the teaching staff in 1977 and remained there until her passing in March 2008 - over thirty years service to Calabar. She was the Acting Principal at the time.
Almost everyone who interacted with her speaks not just of the length of her service but to the manner in which she gave that service. A committed Christian, Dr. Gordon was known for having a warm personality and an unshakable calmness about her.
Early in life Jennifer Keene found the two enduring passions of her life – teaching and her faith. She taught English Literature and History. In addition she provided leadership and counsel to Calabar’s Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship (ISCF) group for the duration of her tenure at Calabar.
Many a Calabar boy had been deeply impressed with the composure she brought to her tasks. It seemed she was never flustered, despite the trying circumstances of a boys school. For those who she taught it seems no praise was too high for. At the time of her passing the tributes rang out richly and emotions flowed freely.
She was said to be kind, thoughtful, serene, fun loving and fair. She knew how to turn tears into laughter and channel negative thoughts and emotions into a quest for the lessons behind every trying circumstance.
Dr. Gordon was no doubt a leader. She exemplified the expectation that all great leaders must indeed serve those whom they wish to lead. Her sudden depature at the highest point of her career struck the Calabar family hard.
The Calabar Old Boys’ Association (COBA) celebrates the life of Dr. Jennifer Keene Gordon and hereby records our gratitude for the many years of dedicated and distinguished service to Calabar.
It is fitting that we share a poem entitled “Voyage”, which was written at the time of her passing to acknowledge Dr. Gordon’s love of literature.
The poet is Oneil A. Williams, a former student of hers.
The sun doth set upon my soul
My spirit is set free.
The earth I shall no more behold
Nor waves of ecstasy.
The light doth fade before my eyes,
So fades the spoken word.
“Tis here, Alas!” With tearful sighs
I fly free from the world.
I voyage through eternity.
At last I comprehend
The cause of the fraternity
Of others at this end.
‘Tis wondrous how the black ravine
Does suddenly appear
To change into a vivid scene
Of rushing waters clear.
Restrain those crystals falling free
For them there is no need.
“Tis here, at last!” And I can see
New waves of ecstasy.
Though I am gone I still remain
Upon your earthly shore.
My soul reclaimed; devoid of pain.
‘Tis changed forevermore.
~ Oneil A. Williams