It’s never too late to be a student again.

The ANSWER Scholarship Endowment provides college scholarships for mothers 25 years old and older who are raising school-age children in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.  To date, it has given out 70 scholarships to 38 women.

Meet: Sheri Perez-Segura, a scholarship recipient who overcame a family background of addiction and abuse and returned to school as an adult.

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Why did you quit school at age 13?

To help take care of my brothers and also because my family did not value education.  One day I had a bad day at school and came home and told my mom that I did not want to go back to school and she said okay. So I quit.

How old were you when you went back to school?  

I was 35 when I decided that I needed to go back to school. I started classes with the Adult Education Center in Rock Hill and on May 21, 2011, I took the last portion of my GED and started [at] York Tech [where] I complet[ed] my basic classes. Then I transferred to Winthrop University.

What are you studying and what do you plan to do once you complete your education?

I decided that a degree in family and consumer sciences with a minor in Spanish would be [best] for the career path that I wanted to take.  I plan to work with children with special needs and their families. I want to help them have the foundation they need for not only the children to be successful in school, but also for the families to be able to help their children and have the resources to help themselves.

What was the hardest part about being a student again?

Being a single mom, having school, working, being a grandmother, volunteering in the community and trying to have a small social life. And learning how to ensure that I am prioritizing each of those roles at the right times takes so much effort, and it took a while for me to learn how to do that.

How did you surprise yourself?

I never dreamed that, at the age of 35, I would be able to start the journey that led me to college. I never dreamed that I would be able to break the chains that the women in my family have carried for so long of not valuing education.

What do you hope your children take away from your example?

I just want my kids to first value education and know that education is the key to having success in life. I also want them to know that anything worth having takes hard work and dedication. But I guess the most important thing for everyone, my kids and adults, is it is never too late to live out your dreams. It is never too late to return to school.

Photos by Joe Hardin.


Jenn Baxter

Jenn Baxter is a freelance writer who contributes to several publications including The Charlotte Observer, Fort Mill Times, Lake Norman Magazine and SOCIETY Charlotte. Follow her on Twitter  @_JennBaxter.

 

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