Senior citizen fulfils childhood dream, graduates for the first time

Olive McPherson (right) collects her certificate in Practical Nursing

Olive McPherson grew up in a poverty-stricken household with parents who had a dozen children.

Her childhood dream was to become a nurse, but her schooling stopped at age 15 when she completed Linstead Primary School in St. Catherine. At that time, there was no graduation ceremony.

“I wanted to become a nurse, but my mother and father did not have it; they were poor and they have 12 of us,” McPherson recounted.

She told The Beacon that, over the years, she did odd jobs to eke out a living for herself and her family, which included her three children – two of whom are still alive.

Her husband, Sydney McPherson, died nearly a decade ago.

She eventually got an opportunity to travel to the United States, and to become a caregiver for the elderly.

The 63-year-old Jamaican native, while recently in the land of stars and stripes, felt an urge to pick up the dream she shelved decades ago.

She enrolled in the Practical Nursing programme at Success Academy of Vocational Studies in her hometown of Linstead.

On Sunday, January 20, McPherson graduated with a Practical Nursing certificate, having successfully completed her studies.

“I am 63 years old and it is the first I ever experience graduating. I went to many graduations, but I never graduated for myself. I am really excited about it,” she told The Beacon.

McPherson said her batch mates – some not yet half her age, treated her like a mother.

“My batch mates; they fight to help me with my work; I am the mother in there,” the beaming senior citizen said.

“I decided to send myself to school; I motivated myself. My advice: Don’t give up on yourself; you are not too old to learn,” McPherson further declared.


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