Graduating with your mum
A graduation is a very special time in anyone’s life. Graduating with your loved ones makes that celebration even more special.
This was the case for Siobhan Chase, her mother, Judith, and her sister, Sonja , who all graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI), last October.
Judith graduated with a master’s degree in public sector management, Siobhan also earned a master’s but in criminology and criminal justice and Sonja has a bachelor’s in international relations.
Judith and her husband, Cameron, have a third daughter, Suraya, and the family live in Arouca.
For Judith the educational push and drive began with her mother, Yvonne Bruce.
While, at times, the process was gruelling, she remembered how her mother always spoke about the importance of an education. “At times, it would be a bit a frustrating, you feel as if ‘I wonder if I can continue with this’ but my mother, she died three days before her birthday last year, and she was a retired teacher so she always stressed education.
“She always used to say that one thing people can’t take from you is your education,” Judith said.
Every time she felt like giving up, her mother would say, “‘What happen you talk to your supervisor. You get through with this?’”
“I might say, ‘No, I have not heard from them’,” Judith recalled. “She would say,‘Don’t wait. You call. Keep in contact.”
Her mother also had a degree and Judith, who works in the Public Service, felt she needed to attain the same level or surpass her. Although it happened late, because she did not have the money, she still got it done.
Judith’s opportunity came through the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme. Through this, she was able to study for her undergraduate degree in political science and then her master’s.
Her mother was able to see her degree before she died.
“I was happy. I went and got my certificate before so that she saw it and held it. She was really, really happy and she was planning what she would wear to the graduation ceremony,” Judith said as she became emotional.
Even though she did not achieve her tertiary education earlier, her children always saw Judith pursuing courses. “You have to motivate your children and to me when they see you going through it, whatever they see, they will pattern…so throughout I have been doing like courses and all of that along.”
Although they began at different times, life positioned them to complete their studies in the same year.