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Betsy dreamt of being a ‘glamorous secretary’ but God had other plans

Inspired by faith: Betsy Dunn spent 35 years in education here and abroad. She believes she was called by God to do it (Photograph supplied)

The journey to acquire higher education was not a straight road for Betsy Dunn.

While en route to making her dream a reality, she had to overcome many “roadblocks” before she was able to accomplish what she describes as “God’s vision” for her life.

Upon receiving the news that her high school was to close before she could complete her studies, she decided to leave the island to continue her education in 1957.

“I saved for a year and at the end of the year I travelled to South Lancaster Academy in Massachusetts,” she said. “I had enough funds to start my first year and while there, I had to work because my parents didn’t have money to support me.”

On graduating she joined Atlantic Union College where her dream was to become a “glamorous secretary” but as she prepared to return home to work one summer, Mrs Dunn had an encounter that hinted at another path God wanted her to take.

During a chance meeting with the wife of the president of Atlantic Union College, the woman insisted she was pursuing the wrong career.

“I had never had any contact with her before [but] she said to me, ‘You are in the wrong profession, you should be a teacher.’ It had never entered my mind that I would become a teacher.”

As part of a home economics course Mrs Dunn had enjoyed an assignment where she had to set up a preschool programme from scratch but she’d thought no more about it.

“I liked it but that was not my goal, I was going to become a secretary.”

Back in Bermuda that summer Mrs Dunn worked as a secretary at the Kindley Air Force Base. She enjoyed it so much she decided to spend a year there before returning to finish her final year at Atlantic Union College.

In her absence the college trunk room – where she had stored all her belongings – was raided and her things were stolen. Replacing them set her back financially, which further delayed her return.

And then in 1965 Mrs Dunn married. Pregnancy caused her to put her education on hold yet again but she was determined to see it through.

“I was a stay-at-home mother for about a year, then I decided to go back to work.”

Mrs Dunn got a job as a secretary at a preschool. One day one of the teachers fell ill and she was sent into the classroom.

“I felt the Lord was leading in the situation,” Mrs Dunn said. “I went into the classroom and I knew what to do because of the experience of setting up a preschool [in college].”

She so impressed her bosses that they refused to let her return to work as a secretary.

“I enjoyed it,” she said. “The Lord kept saying to me to go back to school and take education. I said, ‘Lord, I have a house and a young daughter. How am I going to do this?’”

Mrs Dunn went back to school in 1968 and graduated with a degree in education three years later.

She was a teacher here and abroad for 35 years; the majority of her time was spent at the Bermuda Institute, where she worked from 1984 to 2006.

In 1994 she earned a master's degree. A test of faith during that time affirmed the way God was moving in her life.

Mrs Dunn said, “When registering for my final summer classes to complete my master's degree I was informed that I had to complete nine credits instead of the expected six required to graduate. Nine credits in six weeks seemed almost impossible [but] it is so comforting to know that you can count on the One who deals with impossibilities.”

She prayed each night as she sat down to work and found solace in Philippians 4:13 which reads, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”

“Most of the time I worked all night into the early hours of the morning,” Mrs Dunn said. “With God’s help, I completed all the requirements necessary to graduate two days before the final due date. With God's help, all things are possible. He hears and answers the prayers of His children.”

Now retired, Mrs Dunn’s hope is that people looking for a career consider education as a profession.

“There is a great need on the island for more good Christian teachers. I believe that teaching is the most rewarding, God-inspired occupation.

“Sometimes God allows us to pursue our goals and dreams, as I did. We may or may not experience success. When we consult Him for direction and His will for our lives, He will reveal it through a person or the Holy Spirit.

“My decision to return to college and change my major to education was Spirit-inspired and was the decision I have ever made.”

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Published September 09, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated September 11, 2023 at 8:12 am)

Betsy dreamt of being a ‘glamorous secretary’ but God had other plans

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