In 1844, the first recorded teacher, Mr. J. Jarrot Wood opened a school in Bodden Town. However, it was in 1909 that a school was built on the current site, that was known as Bodden Town Primary School. The school was renamed to Theoline L. McCoy Primary School on 16th October 2019.
Theoline McCoy’s Biography
Theoline Lillis McCoy, April 23, 1919 – February 18, 2001
Theoline McCoy (nee Conolly) was born in East End to Austin Conolly of that district and Sarah Conolly (nee Bodden) of Bodden Town. She attended “all-age” school in Bodden Town and was educated to high school equivalent level under legendary teacher Mr. Oliver Hill;
1946 to 1949 – Received formal teacher training and graduated from Shortwood Teachers College in Jamaica;
1950 to 1963 – was head teacher (Head Mistress) at Savannah Primary School. In her first year as headmistress, she literally saved the school from closure. Due to prior poor academic performance, Government had decided to close the school, despite the objections of Savannah community. As a last resort it was decided to assign newly qualified teacher, Mrs. McCoy to the school. Within one year, she was able to turn the school around to achieve not only first place in academic performance amongst the island’s primary schools but also commendable achievements in sports! Government decided to keep the school open. She was assisted by only one teacher’s assistant, Mrs. Florence West.
Please note, at this time Savannah Primary consisted only of the one room school-house which is still preserved today. These were the height of mosquito days and limited transportation and Mrs. McCoy rode a bicycle to and from her home in Bodden Town and Savannah, rain or shine! She did this even while pregnant with her first child, Cheryl. The school building had wooden windows propped-open by broomsticks and during heavy rain and days of heavy mosquito infestation, the windows had to be closed. Without electricity (only oil lamps), these were truly “dark” (and hot) days!
1963 to 1970 – was a staff teacher at the Government’s Secondary Modern School in George Town, teaching English and Home Economics;
1970 to 1971 – transferred briefly to the staff of the Cayman High School when Government merged the two schools to become the Cayman Island Comprehensive High School;
1971 – Attended training in Wales, UK to qualify as a school inspector, along with the late teachers Genevieve Bodden, Layman Scott and Hartwell Wood;
1971 to her retirement in 1980 – she was one of three original trained school inspectors (incl. Genevieve Bodden and Carolyn Hislop) who formed the Education Department’s newly created inspectorate team, assigned to all of the islands’ primary schools, including Cayman Brac. Their role was to formulate and monitor programs of schools’ compliance with assigned curriculums, prepare and submit reports and recommendations regarding schools’ performance to senior Government officials.
Mrs. McCoy was also very active in community affairs, being a founding member of the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps and Inner Wheel Club (wives of Rotarians) and involved in many civic activities. She was also very active in her church – Webster Memorial in Bodden Town, as church organist, choir member, Elder, member and president of the Women’s Fellowship, and member of the Garden Party and other organizing committees.