Text of Dr. Rebecca Duda Letter Nominating Nancy Humphrey

July 24, 2021

St. Joseph the Worker Shrine

Christian Worker Recognition Award

37 Lee Street

Lowell MA 01852

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this nomination letter on behalf of my dear colleague, Mrs. Nancy Humphrey.  I have had the pleasure, and honor, to work alongside her for the past four years at the Lowell Public Schools’ Family Resource Center.  Nancy epitomizes the values which the St. Joseph the Worker Christian Award looks to recognize.

Nancy has been a lifelong educator.  Her 50 years in education began after her graduation from college when she took a position in the Wilmington Public Schools teaching grade 5.  After several years in Wilmington, she took a position at Lowell High School ultimately becoming a guidance counselor. Through her work as a guidance counselor, she advised countless students on post-high school plans and wrote numerous letters of recommendation for college applications.

Upon her retirement from the Lowell Public Schools, Nancy returned to work for the school district as a part-time McKinney-Vento Family Liaison.  The McKinney-Vento staff work to ensure the district is fulfilling the McKinney-Vento Education Act.  This Federal act was passed by Congress to help protect the rights of homeless students.  Its purpose is to break down barriers which hinder homeless children from accessing their public education.

Since taking on her new role, Nancy has worked tirelessly to serve the over 1,200 homeless students, and their families, in the Lowell Public Schools.  In her role, she helps identify families at the time of enrollment in to the district.  These families may be living in homeless shelters, motels, or doubled up with friends or relatives because they are unable to afford a place of their own.  She will assist the families by helping them get all the required documentation needed for enrollment, but more importantly she services the whole family by getting them clothing from Catie’s Closet, food, school supplies, and other basic household items.  (Often out of her own pocket!)  It is also not uncommon for Nancy to connect families with other community resources so the family understands options for stable housing or employment opportunities.  She consistently goes above and beyond in her role as a McKinney-Vento Family Liaison.

Additionally, many of our families are from Brazil and Nancy has started learning basic Portuguese so that she can better serve the Brazilian community.

Nancy services some of our most vulnerable families.  Some are escaping domestic violence situations.  Others have walked all the way from Central America with nothing more than the clothing on their backs and the children have gone through border detention centers and left their families behind.  Still others have fallen on hard times and cannot support themselves financially.  Regardless of their situation, Nancy is there, at virtually any hour of the day, to assist them.  Her work does not stop when her shift ends.

Throughout her career, as a teacher and guidance counselor, she worked to help her students and families achieve their educational goals.  Now, she has chosen to use her retirement as an opportunity to continue to serve others through her work.  I can think of no one more deserving than Nancy Humphrey to be recognized this year with the St. Joseph the Worker Christian Worker Award.

Yours in Christ,

Rebecca A. Duda, Ed.D.