A 96-year-old woman, Violet Edwards has set a record of being the oldest African-American woman to graduate from college after she received her degree from Mercy College in New York, United States.
Violet Edwards was also the oldest person to in Florida, United States to receive a degree and the fifth-oldest person in the world to graduate from college.
She was born in 1925 in Jamaica as the youngest child in her family. Ever since her young age, she was an avid reader and an excellent student. She was the first in her village to attend school, Happy Grove High School, Jamaica, with a full academic scholarship.
According to reports, during the World War II years, she enrolled for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate which is required of her to proceed with her education. The exams had to be sent to England for grading, there were concerns that the ship carrying them would become a war casualty, but her exam made it safely to England and she passed.
She enrolled in the College of New Rochelle, New York, United States in the early 1980s but reluctantly left due to financial challenges. So Edwards joined the workforce in Jamaica and had a successful career in the Jamaica Postal Service, becoming the first female regional inspector to be appointed by the service.
During her career, she focused on her family, ensuring that her daughter went to medical school. Her daughter, Dr Christine Edwards has as of today, become the medical director of the Florida Perinatal Center, LLC, United States.
After seeing her daughter through higher education, Violet Edwards decided to return to college again while working full time. She was then faced with another financial challenge that stopped her from achieving her goal.
She therefore decided to continue devoting all her energies to helping her daughter establish a medical practice and helping to raise her grandchildren and set her focus to return to college before her 100th birthday.
Edwards was accepted by Mercy College in New York, United States as a transfer student but was unable to transfer all of the 84 credits she had previously earned at the College of New Rochelle, New York and had to settle for an Associate of Science degree.
She took some online classes which made it compulsory for her to use computers, the internet and smartphones. “Everything was on pad paper and pencil. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m going along with it,” she said, referring to adapting to online classes,” she said.
Thankfully, her daughter and son-in-law were there to help keep her connected and troubleshoot any issues. “It was challenging…but I went through it. I wouldn’t give up,” she added.
She received her degree from Mercy College with the highest honors and a 4.0/4.0 grade-point average.
During the course of her study, Violet Edwards was also faced with health challenges after she was diagnosed with cancer just towards her final year in college.
She defied the odds, underwent surgery and completed her final radiation treatment, Local 10 reported.