By Rachel Benbrook Mason, Regular ContributorNovember 16, 2015
image via elheraldo.co.uk
When Margaret Bekema was 17 years old she had to drop out of high school to care for her family. Her mother had been suffering from cancer, and she had three younger siblings who needed to be cared for.
Now, at the age of 97, her high school has given her an official honorary diploma. An emotional Margaret donned her cap and gown and proudly received an accomplishment she had wanted for many years. She had said that having to drop out of school before she was able to complete her degree had broken her heart. Now, so many years later, Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids Michigan has helped her achieve her lifelong dream.
Despite this setback in her education, she went on to do clerical work and eventually became a preschool teacher.
She had worked hard all her life, and now she proudly has the diploma to show for it.
I wonder how many times I have found myself complaining about schoolwork and taking for granted the amazing opportunity I had to not only complete high school, but college and graduate school as well. How would I have coped if I had to face the same challenges that this incredible lady did, and why would any of us take our educational opportunities for granted when they mean so much to so many people?
Margaret struck a chord with me for many reasons. She forced me to evaluate how much education means to so many people around the world who face hardships to receive it, and she also made me realize how silly it is that I or anyone else would ever feel the need to say it’s too late to accomplish something. How many times do I often say, “oh it’s too late,” or let opportunities pass me by. Women like Margaret prove that it’s never too late to achieve your goals or, in her case, to have the experience of graduation which she had wanted all of her life.
As long as you have air in your lungs, you can keep achieving. There is nothing stopping you from accomplishing your goals.
The beaming look on Margaret’s face as she’s overcome with emotion at receiving her diploma is so touching. She proves that it is never too late, and good people all around the world can help us achieve our dreams along the way. Margaret is an inspiration, and I promise myself I will not use the words “it’s too late” again.
Have you ever thought it was too late for you to achieve your dreams? What dreams to you still aspire to achieve? Tell us below!
Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and the University of Leeds where she studied Political Communications. She is a passionate advocate of strong friendships, caffeine, social justice, current events, travels and adventures, as well as all things peanut butter. She enjoys watching Parks and Recreation, as well as teaching English to new language learners.
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