by Heidi Bevington-Liz Piwek accepted her high school diploma this year – an honour she waited 51 years to receive.
“Nobody but my family really knows what that meant to me,” she said.
Back in 1952, Ms Piwek had to quit school after Grade 10. The school was six and a half miles away from her home, she recalled, so she had to board in town to attend, and her family could no longer afford the fees. Later, at age 24, she tried to re-enroll, but the school board would not permit it because as a married woman she might corrupt the students.
“It used to really make me angry when kids would skip school or complain about having to go,” she said. “They didn’t know how lucky they were.”
Finally, in April 2002, Ms Piwek got the chance to study again through the adult education program at the Sandspit school. Work pressures caused her to quit for a time, but in March of 2003, after her employer laid her off, she headed right back to school as quickly as she could. She credits teachers Laura Sample and Dennis Baran as “two of the best teachers I’ve had in my life.”
Ms Piwek isn’t finished with education. She plans to enroll in a two-year, university level, criminology program available through correspondence. The science of crime fascinates her.
“The story of a crime is written at the scene if you know how to read it,” she said. “I want to do it because it’s important to me. And who knows, after that I might decide to take something else. You’re never too old.”
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