Late JC chemistry teacher Diego Hines remembered for brilliance, passion
Diego Hines, former chemistry teacher and subject coordinator at Jamaica College (JC), was fondly remembered by his school and the wider community as an educator par excellence during a thanksgiving service last Sunday.
The 36-year-old, who joined JC’s academic staff in 2013, passed away on December 26, 2022, six days after he suffered a stroke and was found unresponsive on the floor of his Kingston home.
Wayne Robinson, acting principal at the Old Hope Road, St Andrew-based institution, said Hines was the consummate professional, a team player and colleague who always had the best interest of his students at heart.
“He prided himself on being one of the best chemistry teachers in Jamaica. He was very passionate about the subject area and his students. He was a confident teacher in Jamaica and he would say that he is the best. He would instil in his students that he is the best, and he would get his boys to believe in him,” Robinson said during the service at the Falmouth Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Trelawny.
“He brought them from fourth form all the way up to sixth form. Of his class of 24 students, 15 of them had distinctions or credit,” Robinson said, speaking of recent Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination chemistry Unit 1 results. “What a lot of teachers may not know is that Diego also taught mathematics, which is probably why the chemistry [performance] is so good at CSEC at Jamaica College. His first love, however, was always chemistry.”
Robinson said Hines was always jovial, willing, and smiling, adding that he was always willing to share information and tips with colleagues.
“His way was, ‘How are we going to get these boys to work? How are we together going to get these boys to pass [their exams]?’,” Robinson said.
“He brought that love for chemistry to the boys. Most of the students he taught are studying overseas, and many are on their way to completing their education in medicine. One of the students said, ‘Sir, he made me love chemistry, and chemistry is not an easy subject to love,” the headmaster related.
Hines was not only dedicated to his students through chemistry, but also in sports.
PASSION FOR BASKETBALL
During the service, he was also remembered for his passion for basketball, having developed a love for sports as a boy. He represented William Knibb Memorial High School in basketball and later donned the red and gold for Cornwall College when he went there for sixth form.
Hines was also instrumental in organising a basketball club in Falmouth.
“He was the staff representative for the school’s basketball team and was always at their matches. Diego also had a team of basketball players that he played with on Saturday mornings, and he also played lawn tennis. For those of us who remember the staff volleyball tournament that we had, Diego was one of the stars of the tournament. He was fit, brilliant, always participating, always encouraging,” Robinson recalled.
The late teacher was also eulogised as a well-rounded individual who exemplified a good spirit and showed love in everything that he did.
According to Robinson, he was a champion teacher and an excellent man, whose sudden passing created a significant void at Jamaica College.
“He was from a humble background, and so he looked to the boys from humble backgrounds and ensured that they got a chance in life. Diego was a selfless human being, excellent, one of the best that Jamaica has produced in chemistry, and Jamaica will not be able to replace him,” Robinson said.
Hines’ family, particularly his brother, Jamari Hines, reminisced on an avid football lover of a brother, who doted on Lionel Messi and the Argentina football team.
“At age 18, he predicted [that] Messi would be the biggest thing in football, and that was when Messi was 18,” Jamari recalled.
Hines’ team, captained by Messi, won the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on December 18. His team’s flag remains on his car.
Breaking down several times during the remembrance, Jamari said his brother was also a fan of rap, his favourite rappers being Nas, Kanye, Drake, and Lil Wayne“because they are known for their lyrical content”.
Jamari refused to describe the funeral as a celebration of his brother’s life“because I don’t have anything to celebrate because I am still broken and I don’t know when I am going to get over this”.