Author: Karl Goodison
Originally Published: March 21, 2007 in Daily Gleaner
Updated: August 25, 2014
Monday March 19th marked the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Father High Sherlock. During his lifetime he received a number of honours including a doctorate at University of the West Indies. However, this author of our National Anthem needs to be properly recognized by the nation.
Boys’ Town founded in 1940, stands testimony to his tremendous Christian service to the community and nation. His legacy must never die. The number of productive human beings that Father Sherlock has given the nation cannot be measured in dollars, as the sum total could exceed the output of many corporations.
How do you measure the net worth of individuals growing up without hope in tough communities in Trench Town, Jones Town, and West Kingston in general? Enter a Father Sherlock, a Christian of the Methodist faith, motivator and enabler, to create the support group and resources to motivate the have nots into craftsmen, accountants, musicians, doctors, lawyers, and other professions, confirming that the greatest asset is human capital.
While working with “Father” as director of Boys’ Town I got to know him better. He always referred to God as the “Big Man Up There”. I remember receiving the princely sum of $100 to buy lunch after he was touched by my message in the Boys’ Town 44th Anniversary Magazine which said: “For years, the institution represented the only avenue for boys of deprived circumstances to display their talents to the wider society.” Father worked into his 90’s and promised that he would make the century in singles, as cricket was very dear to him. The game builds character and Boys’ Town was the chief benefactor. He always said he had “retreaded” as “retirement” was not in his vocabulary.
Father was never a long speaker and his sermon were usually short and inspiring, unlike the norm in some church services. He was, however, at his vintage best, when he delivered the eulogy for National Hero Norman W Manley. He said he was always commended for that sermon, but had help from the “Big Man”
In an essay competition on the 100th anniversary of Father Sherlock’s birth, the winner wrote: “Father is a true National Hero. He gave of himself unselfishly for the good of the nation.” No tribute can omit his love for Collie Smith (late cricketer) whom he said was a perfect role model. He thought highly of the late Ms. Gloria Brebner, and Gladstone Robinson who he saw as heir apparent.
The school named in Father Sherlock’s honour in Wilton Gardens no longer exists, although ironically it is now a part of Boys’ Town All-Age School.