One professor’s lifelong dedication to teaching
By Gabriella Chapman
“I GREW up in a home where both parents were teachers and ardent musicians and all we wanted to be, were imitations of our parents.”
Emulating her parents and dedicating all her life to learning and teaching, Professor Joycelynne Eleanor Loncke served the University of Guyana for 50 years and obtained a myriad of awards during her study years.
This phenomenal woman shared a bit of her story and impeccable journey with the Pepperpot Magazine.
Born to parents Ivy Nelbertha Loncke and Francis Percival Loncke, Professor said that she is the fourth of her parents’ six children and they (her parents) did an incredible job in setting the example for their children to follow.
“My mother was a teacher and held awards from the Trinity College of Music (London), the ATCL award, and the LRSM award from the Royal Schools of Music, London. My Father was the first Guyanese to obtain the LRSM in Violin. He was the Choir Master and organist at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for many years, and he was the Headmaster of the Queenstown Roman Catholic School for many years as well. Members of my family have all been devoted to music and teaching, so my commitment to the profession was inherited,” Professor Loncke said.
“My parents were not rich,” she added. “So we all knew that we had to study hard to get scholarships so that we can further our studies. And my mother was my inspiration. She was a wonderful person.”
Just like her mother, Professor Loncke received an LRSM from the Royal Schools of Music in London, in 1960. This, she said, was funded through a scholarship received from the Government of Guyana. Then in 1962, she graduated from Sorbonne in Paris, with a Diplome de Langue et de Civilisation Francaise through a scholarship received from the Government of France. In 1964 she graduated an honour student, with a Bachelor’s Degree in French, through a postgraduate scholarship from the University College of the West Indies.
Now her special expertise is translator/interpreter for French/English, trained by the World Council of Churches.
These are but a few of the academic achievements of Professor Loncke, who said that she was too busy studying and learning, to find a husband and make children.
“I have no husband and children. I spent all my time studying and qualifying myself and the time slipped by so quickly, I didn’t even realise. I had to adopt my nieces and nephews as my own,” she said.
She said that the love she has for what she does fills every aspect of her life. She served in several organisations such as the Pan African Movement, Alliance Francaise of Guyana, Guyana Music Teachers Association, just to name a few.
She also shared that she has two ongoing pieces of research being conducted: The use of steelband techniques in the teaching of music and French writers and the evolution of Pan Africanism.
In addition to that, she wrote a peer-reviewed article; “The Trade in Captive Africans and its Aftermath: a Woman’s View”, which is to be published in Black Lives Matter: The CARICOM Reparatory Justice Project.
She also made contributions in chapters of “The Mirror and the Axe”, in Echoes of the Trade in Captive Africans, Fascina Edition that was published in 2016.
The accomplished woman refused to disclose her age but said that she is as young as she feels. In October of 1968, Professor Loncke started her career journey at the University of Guyana, teaching Music and French. After 50 years, the dedicated woman still serves in the capacity, as Professor Emeritus.
“I love my students. They make my life worthwhile. I am on a year-to-year contract with the University, still teaching Music and French. I love what I do,” she said with a smile.
Her greatest experience, she said, was when she lectured in Africa to French-speaking Africans.
In light of the season of celebrating women, Professor said that women should be proud of their role in life. “They are the mainstay in society, and so important in everyone’s life. So day by day, I urge them all to try their best in everything, and in the end, they will become masters of those things… I would just like to quote the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith and say, ‘Excellence is a habit’.”