Keisha Nation intended to pursue a degree, but she was putting that plan on hold until her two children complete their respective studies.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to go back to school, but I wanted my sons to go instead of me,” the single mother told The Beacon.
She eventually had a change of mind. That’s partly because her elder son, Okeim Brown, encouraged her not to further delay plans to pursue higher education.
Okeim explained: “I insisted of her to do her Bachelor’s. I went ahead and signed the application form myself, dropped it off, got all her documents and dropped them off, paid the registration fee, and she got an email that she is accepted to do her Bachelor’s.”
Nation took up the offer after deferring for a year.
She, this year, completed her degree in Primary Education at the International University of the Caribbean (IUC). That’s a big step up from the diploma she previously acquired in Primary Education from Bethlehem Moravian College in St. Elizabeth.
While the 43-year-old was realizing academic progress, she ensured that her two sons were not left behind. In fact, all three of them completed their respective courses of study this year.
The younger son, Johneal Palmer, graduated from Black River High School with seven CSEC subjects, administered by the Caribbean Examination Council.
Okeim, 22, graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies and Accounting.
He is proud of his little brother, and particularly ecstatic about his mother reaching a big academic milestone at this time – not in the future.
Okeim, a past student of Lacovia Primary School and Munro College, said he generally takes pleasure in motivating people – not just his mom and other relatives.
“I am always one who is motivating others to just go on – move, make that first step,” he said. “You may not know where the finance is coming from, but once you start and you have the right mindset, you definitely will finish. Once you have the right attitude, you will get where you want and even beyond.”
Okeim noted that he also had to motivate himself, adding that his very love for Accounts is rooted in failure and struggle.
“I didn’t like Accounts; I didn’t like Accounting at all,” he told The Beacon. “After failing my first Accounts course in university, I decided that I had to change my mindset, settle down, do a little introspection, and go ahead. I re-sat the exam [that I failed] and I got ‘A’ in it. From there, my love began for Accounting.”
Okeim, who intends to pursue his Master’s degree, is now an Accounting Officer at Tastee Limited.
Prior to that, he did various jobs in order to help cover his university expenses. While attending university, he initially worked at call centres, and later at the Billings and Receivables Unit (Bursary) at UWI.
Okeim’s mother, who teaches at Geneva Primary School in St. Elizabeth, is as proud of her sons as much as they are proud of her.
She told The Beacon that ‘it was a rough road’ having to juggle her full-time job, classes at IUC, and the duties that come with being a single parent.
“It is a difficult task, but, with the help of my family members and my friends, we overcame,” she added.
Nation, in the meantime, appealed for parents to not give up on their children.
“No matter what life throws at you, you cannot give up on your children and you cannot give up on yourself either,” she said.
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