Goodbye 'Miss Amy' - by Nadia Aranki

Mickey Paulson Aranki
Nov 24 2010 10:56

Published in the Fall 2010 issue of the "Birzeit Newsletter"

 Amy Aranki was born in Birzeit in 1922. She graduated from Birzeit College in 1942 at the top of her class. Immediately, she was engaged by the College as a Mathematics and Science teacher. In 1944, she married her cousin Fuad and joined him in Ramleh where he was working for Palestinian Railways. As a result of the 1948 war, they had to leave Ramleh and return to Birzeit.

In the early 1950's, Amy began what would turn out to be an illustrious career as a female educator. At a time when it was quite difficult for women to teach or indeed to receive an education, Amy got a teaching appointment with UNRWA.  She soon became headmistress of a girls' elementary school in Birzeit which attracted pupils from the surrounding towns and villages. Over the years, she dedicated her life to improving her school and turning it into one of the most successful UNRWA preparatory schools in the West Bank. She also continued to teach Mathematics and Science and to supervise extracurricular activities such as drama, poetry and sports. She taught three genteraions of girls and always followed the careers of her former students with great interest. Even when her eyesight failed her in her later years, she would still recognize the voices of her former pupils: sometimes, a grandmother, mother and daughter all taught by "Miss Amy".

Amy was involved in may other activities. She was a member of the Palestinian Family Planning Society. Also, she never missed a chance to futher her knowledge by enrolling in numerous courses. She was also well known for her encyclopedic knowledge of Birzeit's history and genealogy.

Amy and Fuad must have been among the earliest working couples in Palestine. They also managed to bring up and educate five children - Suheil, Abla, Osama, Maha and Sary. At the time of her death, Amy also had eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She will be remembered by them and also by the thousands of her adopted children whose lives she changed through the gift of education. May she rest in peace.

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