Ethel Record

Although Ethel Record was born on Isla Colón, she spent much of her childhood in Bastimentos, the birthplace of both her mother and father. Ethel was raised by her maternal grandparents in a home often full of other family members—including aunts, uncles, and cousins—but it was Ethel’s grandmother who was the head of the family. A strong woman to whom she owes much of her success, Ethel’s grandmother encouraged her to be a good student and eventually allowed her to move to the capital to continue her studies beyond the sixth grade. While walking down the street one day in Río Abajo, Ethel met her husband, who was also studying in Panama City at the time. After earning her degree, the couple moved to Ojo de Agua for Ethel’s first official teaching job, and although adjusting to a new community was very difficult, she stayed at the school for four years. Ethel now has three daughters who, like their mother, all ended up in education, and she has nine grandchildren. While her younger grandchildren are learning English in school, she is concerned for the youth in general and believes that they will only be able to succeed if they too recognize the importance of education.