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  • Writer's pictureLeonora Lo-oy

46-yr.-old mom in Isabela finishes senior high school

Updated: Jun 7

To some, people, when they age, will no longer be able to achieve their dreams, but not this 46-year-old mother who, despite difficulties and challenges, showed she isn’t one of the losing breed.


Catherine Cornelio from Burgos, Isabela is an example that it is never too late to finish what one wants to achieve.


At 46, Catherine recently joined students young enough to be her kids in receiving their senior high school diploma at the Quirino National High School in Isabela. 


The mother of four (one first-year college, two grade 10 completers, and one grade 3) shared in her interview with Bombo Radyo Cauayan that it has always been her dream to finish her education, but financial hardships made it impossible for her to study then.


“Noong bata pa lang po ako, gustong gusto ko na po mag-aral … unang una po, mahirap po kami tapos yung magulang ko hindi po sumusuporta sa amin. Basta sabi nila kontento na lang daw sila basta kumain kami,” she recounted.


Her determination and thirst for knowledge in her younger years were stronger that she completed elementary and secondary even by having to live with different families who could support her studies.


The lack of financial resources, however, kept her from going to college. Instead, it led her to Manila where she worked as a housekeeper.


Being led back to her dreams


While she was in Manila, she met her husband who then brought her back home to Isabela to start their family. She recalled that after having her firstborn, she already thought of going back to school, but once again, financial constraints came in the way.


What led her back to her aspiration after more than two decades was the desire to provide more for her kids, who are now growing up.


Since she was not qualified for the Alternative Learning System(ALS) as she already graduated high school in her younger years, she had to attend the regular class for senior high school with the support of her husband.


Drawing inspiration from negative comments


Joining a class of teenagers at her age for two years was also used by some people to demotivate Catherine.


“Sabi nila matanda na raw ako, wala akong mararating sabi po nila, kasi kung kailan daw matanda ako na doon ako nagkaisip na nag-aral pa. Kahit daw po maka-graduate ako wala raw akong mapapala sabi nila,” she narrated.


Instead of being dragged down by negative comments, she used this as leverage to finish her studies. After all, what matters to her is giving her family a better life.


Now that she finished senior high school, the 46-year-old planned to pursue a higher education. However, she said she might consider going abroad to work if there are not enough resources for her further studies.

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