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Mother of the Year: Sarah Jane Elizabeth Romeo (aka Teacher Beth)

Sarah Jane Elizabeth Romeo (aka Teacher Beth) Sarah Jane Elizabeth Romeo (aka Teacher Beth)

Sarah Jane Elizabeth Romeo, was born on the island of Montserrat and raised by her extended family.  The person who most influenced her life was "Mamma" her grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Wade Dyer.

Her insistence on the importance of learning, her example of common sense management and practical Christianity expressed in generosity and helpfulness to those even poorer than her, moulded and shaped Beth’s character.  As a result of Teacher Beth’s foundation, her life has been centered around family, church, community and education.

Teacher Beth is a respected leader in the Adventist church and has had held several positions in Montserrat, such as, Prison Ministry Leader, School Board Chair, Sabbath School Superintendent and Elder.   

Teaching was never ever just a job for Teacher Beth, it was a calling, a ministry, a passion.  She was an excellent teacher, gifted in the art of imparting knowledge to her students, and they loved her dearly.  Her career took her from class teacher to Head teacher and finally to the Education Office where she conducted teacher training, coordinated the OCOD programme, the USAID Project and oversaw curriculum development, finally retirement from Government in 1986. In 1990 went on to head the Seventh-day Adventist school until volcanic ash forced the closure of the Delvins site.  

Allergic reactions to volcanic ash led her to volcanic exile in London in 1996. Before long, Teacher Beth was where she loves to be most: in schools.  For the next ten years, she taught Mathematics, English and Remedial Reading in tough, inner-city schools.  It was during this time that she was featured in London newspapers, whose journalists traced the academic success of newly-arrived Montserratian children to Beth Romeo’s influence on the Montserrat school curriculum.

However, it was a twist of fate on Education Day in the Hampstead Seventh-day Adventist Church that was to take her in a most unexpected direction.  The testimony of a Kenyan who had gone to school naked due to abject poverty, haunted her so much that she went to Kenya to see conditions for herself.  What she saw so moved her that she started a small-scale, health ministry for children that eventually became Good Health for Africa, a registered charity which produced, in 2004, the Donald Romeo Academy, a primary school, in one of the poorest parts of Western Kenya.  The initial roll of 100 is now 350 and growing!   But until recently, the main source of income for the school was Beth’s savings and her salary from her inner-city teaching.   In October 2006, Good Health for Africa won her a place as one of three finalists of the Black Women in Business Awards in the “Social and Humanitarian” category.    

Beth and Donald Romeo (deceased) were married in 1956.  They shared the same philanthropic, humanitarian and moral values and instilled them in their four children, Julian, Donaldson, Valerie and Sharon. Her family and her faith have always been central to her life.    

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