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‘Keep your eyes on the prize’

Outstanding moment: Patrice Pedro shares a light moment with her son (Photograph supplied)

When the 2024 graduating class of Bermuda College walked across the stage to receive their certificates yesterday, it was a bittersweet moment for one outstanding graduate.

Patrice Pedro, the Most Outstanding Early Childhood Education graduate, was reminded of her grandmother’s efforts that catapulted her into the academic field.

Ms Pedro, who works as a manager at the Stationery Store, shared a close bond with her grandmother.

However, one year after she started reading for an associate of arts at the college in 2018, mortality dealt the family a blow.

She said: “In September 2019, my grandmother passed. It was unexpected and it was at the beginning of that semester.”

Ms Pedro was forced to withdraw from the programme because she could not wrap her head around the loss.

“That was my first big obstacle, because we were very close. When I finished high school in 1999, she got me started at Bermuda College.”

She took a break from studies at the college soon after she started.

That break spanned almost 19 years as Ms Pedro navigated life’s challenges — but her grandmother convinced her to head back.

Ms Pedro said: “She was very supportive and she was the reason I restarted studies at the college in 2018.”

Soon after her loss, Ms Pedro took a break from classes once more, but this time it proved brief.

Determined to complete the programme, she returned to the classroom in January 2020.

She highlighted her son as another inspiration behind her success.

“I have an 11-year old son and he has been very supportive of me; he was my why,” she said.

Another setback appeared on the eve of Ms Pedro’s final exams at the end of last year.

She explained: “Most recently, November 2023, my last surviving grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“So during that time I was travelling back and forth with her to have surgery and it was during finals.”

Final exams were in early December.

She recalled: “It definitely was a lot, between all the hospital visits, I was trucking along. It was very difficult to study.”

She worked full-time and attended classes at night.

Although the times were difficult to handle as a single mother, she knew she could complete the task.

At yesterday’s event, Ms Pedro beamed with smiles as she prepared to take the stage.

She told The Royal Gazette: “Keep your eyes on the prize. Your end goal is achievable even if you encounter obstacles.”

She added: “I feel amazing as an outstanding graduate.”

She said she would take a much-needed break from academics, but not for long.

She plans to study for another degree, aiming to teach in the field of early childhood.

Ms Pedro shared one of her favourite quotes: “To teach is to touch lives for ever.”

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Published May 17, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated May 17, 2024 at 8:21 am)

‘Keep your eyes on the prize’

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