Liberia: 60-yr-old Grand Mother Graduates from High School with 85 Average
Sanoyea District, Bong County – Rebecca Heilman says it is never too late to finish what you have started, even if it takes more than a decade to do so. The 60-year-old mother of seven children and grandmother celebrated receiving her high school diploma Friday, August 2, from the Kerkulah Giddings Senior High School in Sanoyea District. She graduated with an enviable 85 percent average.
Heilman said education has no limit and it is from birth to death. “Why I came back to school is to help the society and encourage others that feel they can’t have education due to age. This is because education has no limit.”
Heilman said she put her education on hold 30 years ago to look after her children. “It feels good today to finish that part of life, but I feel all is not lost,” she said. “I also feel I am on the road to success.”
All her seven children, she said, refused to go to school and as such going back to school was meant to inspire her children. “I have begged my children to take education serious but they have failed to listen. I feel the diploma today will inspire them. If I can go back to school, they too can do the same,” she said.
Heilman said her biggest challenge in returning to school was the mockery she received from her peers as well as students of the school. “They called me all sorts of names the first day I wore the school’s uniform but that didn’t discourage me. I felt motivated to remain in school,” she added.
Continuing, she added: “If you are thinking about going back to school do it,” she said. “You will open a whole new life.”
To get her assignments on time, Heilman said she often stayed up until late hours of the morning. “I sacrificed to get where I am today because I know the importance of education,” she emphasized.
Rebecca Heilman wants to become a professional nurse to help her community.
To mark the achievement, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor offered Heilman a scholarship to pursue her education.
The Vice President said she was happy to learn that Heilman defied all the odds to earn a diploma. “Thank you very much, Rebecca. By your graduation today you have shown that you can move mountains and can face any obstacle that will come your way. I am very proud of you,” she said.
Howard-Taylor encouraged other women to emulate the example of Heilman, saying: “It’s never too late to learn. Never allow anything to stop you from learning.” Silas Juakollie, District Education Officer of Sanoyea School District, said Heilman was willing to learn during her school days. “She never regarded her age. She looked focused and she has gotten the dividends today from her efforts,” he said.