In loving memory
Charles Yorke 1972 - 2023
It was with tremendous sadness that we learnt of the passing of Charles Yorke last Tuesday.
Charles had been a teacher at GSIS since 2008 and made a wonderful contribution to the school as a teacher of Mathematics, Theory of Knowledge Coordinator, Head of Tiger House, leader of many Discovery Week trips and dedicated Ball Hockey coach. He was admired by colleagues and students as an outstanding mathematician, a caring teacher, a friendly and supportive co-worker and inspirational coach.
Charles would not have appreciated all this focus on him, but we know that he cared deeply about his work at GSIS and the students he taught as well as the many he did not teach directly. He was always concerned about students’ wellbeing and worked hard to maintain a calm, positive learning environment.
The last time I saw Charles was on the final day of the school year. He was dressed in a Santa Claus costume in support of the Tiger House basketball teams competing in the end-of-year competition. Charles was passionate about building school spirit and would do all he could to nourish it, including service in the Tiger House tug-of-war team.
Charles was a dedicated Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey fan and was a decent player himself in his time. Charles channeled this enthusiasm and expertise into starting the ball hockey team at GSIS and establishing the inaugural ball hockey league in Hong Kong. The ball hockey team soon became a tight-knit group who were dedicated to their coach. We received the following memory from one of the ball hockey league’s referees that sums up Charles’ connection with the team:
During the last full ball hockey season 2020, Charles was so proud of both the ball hockey teams and was always talking about how much they had developed, players he had trained over the past three years. He had the team humming along and was able to get a team buy-in that I had not witnessed in all my years of refereeing this league. Unfortunately, Covid struck and the playoffs were cancelled; I felt both the mixed and girls teams was destined for championship gold. This type of camaraderie among team mates and coach is rare but when it does take place is a sight to behold.
Charles’ room has been taken off the timetable since last week so that students and staff can sign a Book of Remembrance that will be bound and presented to Charles’ wife, Manus. Students have left many messages, flowers and origami gifts in Charles’ memory.
Parents are invited to email me their own messages of condolence over the next week so that these can be included in the book.
After Chinese New Year, we are planning a celebration assembly of Charles’ life and contribution to the school and in order to acknowledge Charles’ unique sense of style, on that day the whole school will be invited to wear the colour purple. We will also mark his memory with an academic award in perpetuity.
It is appropriate to conclude with some words from a former student that sums up what Charles Yorke meant to so many students
Thank you for seeing the potential in us and pushing us to do our best. You brought so much
light and joy into the lives of those who knew you, and we will always be thankful for that.
Rest easy, coach.
Charles is survived by his wife, Manus, mother, Brenda, and brother, Jamie as well as his beloved dogs Jay Jay and Kyle. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
If individuals would like to make a donation to Charles’ family, particularly to help with funeral expenses, please follow the link below:
DEPUTY PRINCIPAL / HEAD OF ENGLISH INTERNATIONAL STREAM