Hazel Louise Vaz (nee Chaplin), Founder disciplinarian, devoted Christian educator and philanthropist, was born in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, the youngest daughter of Arnold and Caroline Chaplin.
Growing up, she admired her eldest sister Sybil, and aspired to be just like her – to be a nurse – but fate had its own agenda. As soon as she completed Junior Cambridge at Wolmer's High School For Girls, she applied to nursing school, only to be told to wait as she was too young!
While waiting, she decided to take up a temporary teaching post at Morris Knibb Preparatory School.
This one term stretched into twenty years (20), until 1951, when she launched out on her own. Fully grounded in the elements of primary education learned at the feet of her mentor, she was ready to make her dream a reality.
With the strong support of her husband, Everad, they built, nurtured and established what was to become on the pre-eminent preparatory learning institutions in the English-speaking Caribbean. The road was not without its road blocks, obstacles and challenges – but her faith and reliance on her Saviour, Jesus Christ and His promise to her to be her everything, kept her committed to this calling.
Sixty-five (65) years later, Vaz Preparatory school is now a living testimony to her faith and Christ's faithfulness! From this small acorn, a mighty oak flourishes. Aunt Hazel, as she is fondly called, served her community in East Kingston and her country well. She was awarded the Order of Distinction in 1982 by the Government of Jamaica, in recognition of her contribution to education.
The present staff of the school continues to build on the solid foundation laid by Aunt Hazel. The Christian principles espoused, the discipline and the all round 'good' educational curriculum are still practiced today, under the guidance of her niece Beverley. We have learned well that it is good to give thanks in all things, to start and end everything with prayer.
Even in retirement, she was a symbol, a tower of strength to all – parents, students and staff. We look back with a deep sense of gratitude for His guidance, for His favour to her and the school that bears her name, and the many lives that she touched and for those yet to come that will feel her influence, she would tell you this "Whatever I did for them, I did it for my Lord and Master."
Hazel Louise Vaz - July25, 1914 - August 15, 2006, a strong Jamaican woman, a woman of substance, a committed child of the living God – the school's motto reflects who you are.