Graduate Recalls “Beautiful” Memories of 1930s Birzeit School

Evelyn Nicholas Dahdah - Karam didn’t know that leaving her hometown of Ramleh to attend what was then Birzeit School would be a turning point in her life. Karam graduated in 1935, and today at 90 years old she is the institution’s oldest living graduate.

"At that time, it wasn’t easy for girls to leave their homes and move to study in other cities due to custom and tradition,” she recalls. “My father Nicholas Dahdah was a close friend of Ramleh governor Musa Nasir, who was one of the founders of Birzeit School. My father was therefore convinced to move me to study at Birzeit School.”

She remembers that Birzeit consisted of two independent schools: one for boys, run by Wade’ Tarazi, and the other for girls, supervised by Nabiha Nasir. It was named Birzeit Secondary School. “The teaching staff was highly qualified,” Karam says, “and included teachers from Palestine, Lebanon and other foreign countries. A family atmosphere prevailed between students, teachers and staff."

"Besides our studies,” she goes on, “we learned cooking, sewing and discipline because dorm supervisors were tough and motherly at the same time.”

Following her graduation, Karam worked in a girl’s school in Ramleh, and then married Qustandi Michael. In 1948, she moved to Jordan, and then came to Ramallah and settled there. Evelyn encouraged her children to study at Birzeit University, as she still cherishes the memories from her years at Birzeit School.