Amanda Charles (Long) Rowe was a courageous and passionate advocate for children. She served the students and families of Portland Public Schools as a health teacher, school nurse, and district school nurse coordinator for 30 years, two decades of which she spent as the school nurse at Hall Elementary School. She loved the students of Hall, and they loved her. She was respectful, kind, and always interested in what students had to say.
Amanda understood children learn best when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. This philosophy drove her to devote much of her life to making school and home environments safe, healthy, and supportive. As a school nurse, she never hesitated to make a home visit or accompany a student to the emergency room, and she always had a box of clothes available for children without a coat or mittens. She advocated for the establishment of school-based health centers. She organized flu clinics and health screenings in schools. She raised funds to provide eyeglasses for low-income students, as well as defibrillators for all school buildings. She provided guidance to school nurses throughout the state, and tirelessly advocated for school health services before municipal and state agencies. She educated the public to reduce fear and hysteria around the HIV virus so an HIV-positive first grader could attend school. She promoted understanding and acceptance of transgendered students. Whenever Amanda Rowe became aware of an injustice or issue threatening the health and safety of children, she acted swiftly, exercising leadership to bring change.
Amanda’s life was marked by her passion for learning and service to others. After college, she served in the U.S. Army as a pediatric nurse practitioner and officer. She was a voracious reader and enjoyed learning about different cultures. She traveled throughout the world, but the two places she loved most were Baxter State Park and Hall Elementary School.
One of Amanda’s favorite sayings was “To bring about justice, deal with what’s in front of you.” And that she did. When she died in 2013, Amanda Rowe left behind a powerful legacy of contributions to the health, welfare, and education of children in the City of Portland and the State of Maine.