April 5, 2017
Written by Nora Jinishian, Student Enrichment Coordinator
Twice a year, former students return to Mercy Learning Center to share their experiences and inspire current students to continue to learn. These are special days at the Center and truly inspirational to all who are privileged to attend.
This past semester, we had four former graduates share their stories with our Intensive Study students and staff. The graduates in front of the room came from four different countries—Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and the Congo. While each had traveled a difficult journey, they had all successfully completed the program and earned their high school diploma at Mercy Learning Center.
Virginia, who came from Uruguay and attended MLC for one year in 2013, described receiving her diploma as “one of the best days of [her] life.” She then went on to Gateway Community College and received her Associate’s Degree. After working and going to school for several years, she enrolled this past semester as a full-time student at the University of Bridgeport in the Health Sciences program. Her plan is to continue in the Graduate Program and go into the medical field.
Mami, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had a more complicated road. She learned English and studied at MLC from 2002 through 2004, took the GED® exam and failed. She then took a break to raise her family, earn a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification and work. She returned to the Center and finally received her GED® in 2009. This was a particularly gratifying achievement after coming from a place where education for women was not encouraged. Mami recently graduated from St. Vincent’s College of Nursing and is now employed as a Registered Nurse (RN).
The stories of Virginia, Mami, and the two other graduates, Sandra, and Marta were overwhelmingly inspiring to the students in attendance that day. Pam, a current MLC student from the U.S. shared, “I’m 47 and I speak English. I always had a fear of going back to school. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for encouraging us. Now it’s full speed ahead, I’m not going to stop until I achieve my goal.” As always, I personally felt privileged to be a part of the audience that day, hearing beautiful words of perseverance, determination, and success.