Wed | Sep 28, 2016

Appreciating Mrs Nichols

Published:Monday | February 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I thought it necessary to write this email to commend Mary Nichols, the head of region six in the Ministry of Education. It is with heartfelt gratitude that I write to say how persistent she was in assisting me to place my niece at the José Marti Technical High School, this January.

In November, I emailed Mrs Nichols after being referred to that office by the then chief education officer, Jasper Lawrence. My 16-year-old niece, who had previously been in state care, was at home and needed to be placed in a school. Mrs Nichols responded to my email within minutes and advised me to set up a meeting at the earliest possible date with her office. We did and in late November we met with her, were thoroughly interviewed and the process explained in detail.

Good counsel

What struck me the most was that Mrs Nichols spent time to talk with my niece and even counselled her on the need to settle down once she gets the opportunity, and to make good use of it. We were given further directions and sent to the school in mid-December. After what can only be described as a challenging process (one in which Mrs Nichols again had to intervene on our behalf), my niece was accepted to the school.

Mrs Nichols' willingness to see us on more than one occasion, to answer phone calls during her busy schedule and to respond to emails without hesitation has helped restore in me confidence in the education system and public bodies, at large.

Exception to the rule

People always say government workers are not customer-oriented or don't have people skills but, if that is the case, I have found one exception to that rule. Mrs Nichols has counselled my niece, even after our initial meeting, and has expressed a genuine interest in her welfare. She was there to encourage me even in times when I felt like giving up. How humane!

I watched my niece as she excitedly prepared her things to go to school and how elated she was at getting such an opportunity. She speaks highly of Mrs Nichols and has the utmost respect for her advice. She has, for the last three weeks, been attending school diligently and I see a renewed spirit of hope in a child that had, for weeks before, seemed dejected and confused.

Kudos to Mrs Nichols and the rest of the team at region VI, keep up the good work!

I am, etc.,

Happy Aunt