Sen. Janette Millin Young and Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry lamented the loss in releases issued Monday.
"Ms. Abraham epitomized a generation of Virgin Island educators who constantly challenged their students to excel, and were, themselves, examples of the struggle to achieve and to improve themselves," Millen said.
Terry recounted Abraham's remarkable and wide-ranging educational career in a Monday release.
"Ms. Abraham began her celebrated career in Education as a temporary teacher at the George Washington School in 1944 before obtaining her teaching license and traveling abroad to further her education," Terry said. "After attending the Teacher’s Institute and Polytechnic Institute of Puerto Rico, Ms. Abraham transferred to the prestigious New York University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 1953.
"After graduating," Terry said, "Ms. Abraham returned to the territory to take up a permanent position at the George Washington School and was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to India, where she spent time studying at Bombay University and continuing to build her experience in elementary education. When she returned to the territory again in 1962 – after obtaining her Masters of Arts Degree in psychology – Ms. Abraham moved easily into the position of principal at the now Joseph Sibilly Elementary School before moving onto Lockhart Elementary in 1970 and, finally, Michael J. Kirwan Elementary in 1980.
"It is rare to meet an individual with Ms. Abraham’s accomplishments and sincere passion for education," Terry said.
"Ms. Abraham was the first principal at the Michael J. Kirwan Elementary School and can truly be credited for making that institution what it is today."
Known for its school choir, the school also boasts a garden whose produce has taken awards for the past few years at Carnival Cultural Fair.
Terry concluded, "The Department, and our community, will continue to remember Ms. Abraham for her many years of service to the school and its students, along with her many years of public service and lifelong dedication to her craft. She will be greatly missed, and it is our hope that her many lasting contributions to the children of the territory will be a constant source of comfort to her family and friends during this difficult time."
Millen said, "Ms. Abraham's education speaks to a desire for constant growth and self-improvement, and it is easy to see how she imparted this desire to thousands of her students. She didn’t just speak about being a lifelong learner—she lived what she preached."
In 2006, the V.I. Legislature renamed the former Michael J. Kirwan Elementary School after Abraham. Millin Young called that a fitting tribute for Abraham's life time of service to the territory's youth. "It honors her seminal role in establishing the character of the school, which continues to be one of the top performing elementary schools in the territory," she said.
Millen concluded by expressing her condolences to Ms. Abraham’s survivors, who include her sisters, Iris Wilcox and Brenda Lans, and her brothers Verne and Walter Abraham.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.