I attended Bloom High School during a time when teachers had defined expectations for certain students. I was creative and loved sewing. Yet, my sewing teacher would not allow me to take a tailoring class because she said it was “not for Black people.” Eventually, I quit school and got married. During my 14-year marriage, my husband did not think school was a place for a wife and mother.
Afterward, for 23 years, I worked for a company that required a swing-shift schedule. I worked six days straight, had one day off, and then rotated to the next shift for six days. Later, the schedule changed to working five days straight, having two days off and then rotating. Either way, the schedule made it impossible to attend school.
Once I left the company, I was finally able to resume my goal of finishing school. I first passed the General Educational Development (GED) test at South Suburban College. Subsequently, I pursued an interior design degree at Prairie State College. This allowed me to foster my creativity, and I started a custom drapery business.
The interior design program got cancelled near the end of my completion of the degree. Initially, I was devastated to learn I would not get the degree I had worked tirelessly to achieve. While I could have continued the program by attending Joliet Junior College, the travel distance was unreasonable. Therefore, I put having a degree out of my mind, and I was consumed with running my business. This year, since the thirst never left to have my degree, I returned to Prairie State to inquire about completing an associate program. The Associate in General Studies degree was a viable option.
At age 81, I am delighted to fulfill my goal. I always wanted the experience of walking across the stage to graduate.