My Grandmother on the Value of Education & Believing in Students

(An excerpt from the book that I am writing about her life.)

“My only regret in life is not having gone to college but I haven’t done so bad with only an elementary school education.”

“In the 6th grade my grades allowed me to graduate but I had not finished a project that was required. I had to sew an apron. Not only did an angel sit on my shoulder but many people saw my circumstances and liked me and showed me the kindness that I so desperately needed.”

“My teacher was one such angel. She was a small woman with red hair and a was a lovely person. She took the apron and told me that I wouldn’t fail to graduate because I was too stubborn to finish the apron. She finished it herself and took me down to the principal’s office.”

“The principal did not extend the same

Kindness to me. It was about 10 o’clock in the morning and she expressed doubt that I would have everything I needed by that evening. I was told that I had to have a white dress with gloves to participate in the graduation. I of course had none of the above.”

“My parents were heavy gamblers and in fact were in Sarasota gambling. I went to one of their bookees, Ally Katz, and told him that I needed money. I felt this was only fair since he took most of my parent’s money after all. Mr. Katz was amused by my boldness I suppose or maybe he just wanted to help. In any event he became another angel and gave me enough money to buy a dress, flowers, a corsage, and an autograph book. I got everything that I needed and was on stage on time to graduate!”

“The sad part of this story is that although I had made it to that stage, there was no one in the audience cheering me on that day. My new autograph book remained blank, there were no relatives to sign it and because of my family’s reputation for being alcoholics and gamblers I didn’t have any friends at school. No one in my family even knew that I graduated primary school that day. Unfortunately, this is the only graduation that I would ever have.”

“I admire people with an education and wanted that for my girls and for my grandchildren. No sacrifice has been too big to help them pursue an education.”

“An education puts you above others, opens doors for you, and is something that no one can ever take from you.”

“I am happy to see that education has become a priority in our society. In my time we were not pushed to further ourselves or to think beyond what was in front of us. My parents couldn’t read or write. When I was in the 8th grade my mother made quit school and start working. I started making money and never looked back. I don’t even know what I could have become.”