My name is Sandra Whitten and I am the mother of 10 children, grandmother of 23, and the great-grandmother of two.
Time goes by very quickly when you’re busy raising such a large family and, before you know it, the children have grown and are raising families of their own.
On September 6, 2006 the unthinkable happened; sadly, my husband of 35 years passed away with complications from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
I was devastated, alone, and in the depths of depression. Nothing in this world mattered or made sense anymore! The only thing that got me through this terrible time was the love and support of my wonderful family.
My life was at a stand-still and I knew I had to do something. Hearing an advertisement about the Discovery Centre’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program, I decided to give it a try, and realize my life-long dream of graduating from Grade 12.
Going back to school in your 50s can be a nerve-racking experience. It took willpower, determination and, most of all, guts.
On the morning of October 9, 2009, I started my first day of school. My hand trembled as I opened the door to the Discovery Centre. It was the best decision I have ever made for myself.
The excellent, knowledgeable, and caring staff soon put my fears at ease, and in a short time I felt accepted and part of the class.
Working very hard, I acquired the 25 credits that I needed in 11 months. Nothing in this world could ever compare to the feeling of accomplishment and pride that I felt when I was handed my Grade 12 Diploma!
Driving home that day, tears of joy poured from my eyes, and I knew in my heart that my husband would have been so proud of me if he was here.
The next evening, my family had a surprise graduation party for me – it was awesome!
The future seems a lot brighter for me now, and I gained employment with Eastern Health just three months after graduation.
It is never too late to return to school. If I can do it, anyone can, so take that most important first step and open the door to your future at the Discovery Centre. The only one stopping you is you!