Both of my parents graduated from high school in the late 1950s. My father enlisted in the Navy as soon as he graduated and my mother began having children. My father stayed in the Navy for 20 years and retired in 1979 and started his own machine shop business. My mother never worked when my brother and sisters were young but started work in the retail business after my parents divorced in 1972.
I mention this because growing up, we never talked about going to college. It was never an option for my parents and didn’t seem like an option for me. I was a very good student in school and always made the A/B honor roll throughout high school. I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl but never thought it could happen.
During my senior year of high school, I was called down to the guidance office to talk with my counselor. I had never talked to a counselor before in my life. She asked me why I had not taken the SAT exam and I told her that I did not know what that was. She explained that it was an entrance exam for college and that I needed it so that I could be eligible to go to college. I told her that I wasn’t going to college because we were poor and had no way to pay for it. She told me that I could qualify for grant money because of my family income and that I absolutely must take the test. I completed the application and she got someone to pay the fee for me. I showed up at my high school on a Saturday morning and took a test that I had never studied for nor did I have a clue what it was about. About a month later, I got the results and they were good enough to get accepted to college.
She had me fill out an application for financial aid and my mom and I completed it together. I applied to one college, a private college in my city because my best friend’s mom was an instructor there. I got accepted and had a grant to pay my entire tuition and books.
Well to make a long story short, I quit three times. I had transferred to a junior college and received my AA degree and then went to one of our state universities where I received my bachelors degree in education. I struggled to stay in school because I hadn’t prepared for the challenge.
I continued my college and received a masters degree after teaching for 10 years. Today I am a principal in the largest middle school in my town (1500 students). I never thought this would be my life but I am thankful for that counselor who would not take no for an answer.