J Ellenita Nathaniel (née Lawrence) began her teaching career at the age of eighteen as an untrained Subordinate Teacher at the former Basseterre Senior School, having graduated from the St Kitts Girls’ High School with a Cambridge School Certificate. Her position was soon upgraded to that of Assistant Teacher following her obtaining O’Level passes in History and French and also the Leeward Islands Teacher Certificate. She constantly worked at improving her teaching skills by attending local training sessions and workshops. In 1970 she was granted a scholarship to attend the Bath College of Domestic Science, attached to Bristol University from where she received the Certificate of the School of Education, then continued her studies in 1972 which on study leave in the United Kingdom and obtained an Associates Degree from the College of Preceptors. Mrs Nathaniel continued her studies, graduating with honours in 1986 with a Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of the West Indies. This was followed by OAS sponsored tourism-related courses in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
She has served the Basseterre High School, the Sandy Point High School and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) and was one of the first teachers on staff at the Cayon High School when it opened in 1971. As a passionate teacher of Domestic Science, Home Economics and Hotel Trade, Mrs Nathaniel dedicated herself to the development of her students, the department in which she served and the wider community. During the 1908’s, in the early stages of the growth of the nation’s hotel and tourism industry, she was committed to the preparation of her students to fill their roles in these areas with excellence, teaching by day and at the Evening Institute at nights. Through her urging, the Hotel Trades Course was upgraded from the training of the young to become waiters and maids to certification at the level of City and Guilds, and the Front Office Receptionist program was introduced. She has taught Cake Making and Decorating for the Youth Skills Programme and later for the Community Development Programme. Over the years, her passion for teaching has been driven by a caring for her student who to this day return to thank her for some long-ago kindness which has unknown to her impacted their lives.
Affectionately known as “Sister Nat” among the congregation of the Zion Moravian Church, she has sung on the Senior Choir and served as Director of the Junior Choir, Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent and Life Boys Officer in the Boys’ Brigade. She is also responsible for the start of the Dorcas Outreach Ministry to the sick and shut-ins.
She is a founding member of the St Kitts Flower Arrangers’ Association (begun on 19th September, 1980 by the late Mrs Irma Didier) and is still active today. As President of this group she led the team to the World Flower Council in Malaysia and New Zealand in 2010. She is also an active member of the Alzheimer’s Society, a support group for caregivers of person afflicted with this disease. Mrs J. Ellenita Nathaniel is the widow of the late Samuel Nathaniel, MBE. The marriage has produced two children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
TODAY WE PROUDLY SALUTE MRS J ELLENITA NATHANIEL FOR THE MEDAL OF HONOUR IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY SERVICE