23 Oct 2012

Rare state funeral for former Guam educator

5:37 am on 23 October 2012

Gloria Nelson, the former head of the educational authority on Guam, is being honoured today with a state funeral.

An official state of mourning has been in place since the 77-year-old's death just over a week ago and her close friend, the senator Judith Guthertz, says her funeral is likely to be one of the territory's biggest.

Ms Guthertz says state funerals are usually reserved for political leaders but are also given for those who make exceptional contributions to the community.

She says Mrs Nelson was an irreplaceable fighter for the rights of retirees and as the administrator of the school system set up a programme to re-engage students playing truant.

"She was very successful at it. She believed that no child should be left out of the school system and should be brought back to school to get engaged in education rather than bringing them to a reformatory or to other facilities."

A Democratic Party senator in Guam, Judith Guthertz.