Grandmother rolls back the clock - Went back to school at 47, now reading for degree

May 07, 2018
Carol Ann Mitchell

Determined is one of the words that can be used to describe Carol Ann Mitchell, who went back to high school, in uniform, at age 47.

Mitchell, who was a grandmother when she enrolled at the Winston Jones High School in Manchester in 2012, said she could not refuse the opportunity that was presented to her.

"Jamalco started a Career Enhancement Programme to help community members, and I enrolled in the programme. I did an entry-level test, which was maths and English, and I topped both of them. I sat them after eight months and got one in English and two in maths," she said.

Mitchell did well in the evening programme and was asked to join the day programme, which meant she would have to wear a uniform to school. She said that she enrolled not only to do more subjects, but to encourage the young females to make the most of the time they have.

"I started having children really early. I had my first child when I was 15, and I moved to Canada. I went back to school and got a diploma there, but when I came back to Jamaica in my late 40s, they said it could not be used for anything. So I had no CXCs, and that was not helping," she said.

"I did other subjects, such as technical drawing, Spanish, social studies and

visual arts, all of which I got twos in, but that was not my main aim of going back. I reached out to the females there and told them to take school seriously because I am now 47, and I am in the same place as them because I wasted my time at school," she said.

Fast-forward six years, and Mitchell is attending the University of Technology, pursuing a bachelor's degree in education and industrial technology with a major in construction.

She said that even though there are financial difficulties, she will stop at nothing to get what she has always wanted.

"It is not easy; I have to pay my own fees. I am an adult student, and I don't want to take a student loan. I am out of a job but I will not give up on my dream. If it takes 10 years, I will get my degree," she said.

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