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A phone call which lasted 19 years

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It was April 1962. She lived across the road from the teacher-training college run by the Convent of the Sacred Heart at the request of the Peruvian government.

She had no phone, but the school did, and she needed to make a call.

The school director overheard her speaking English.

Soon after she got back to her house, a truck drove into her yard and a messenger asked: "Do you speak English? Have you a college degree? Were you ever a teacher?"

She answered in the affirmative and was directed to get in the truck.

Back to the school and a meeting with the director. The Instituto Pedagogico Nacional was to begin teaching its students to teach English as a second language and how could they do it without her?

This April, after 19 years of continuous service, Sabra Nichols de Chavez retired, after 35 years away, it return to the US to live.

Mrs. Chavez is from Marblehead, Mass., received a degree and teaching certificate from Boston University, and met her husband in 1946 in Chicago, returning with him to Lima where they raised three children.

She's enormously proud of her institute of pedagogy, and the day I visited was working with her staff to complete the English examinations to be given to candidates for admission.

First, all those who wish to enter take a general examination, and more than half are often asked not to return for the second battery of tests. The second group of tests are in subject areas; again, many do not pass, and hence will not need to take the English examination.


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