It always seems impossible until it’s done. For a recent Mountain View College graduate, those impactful words of Nelson Mandela ring very true.
Meet 66-year-old Kathy Norwood. This grandmother of five isn’t your traditional MVC graduate, but there’s a reason for that. The former honor student at LG Pinkston High School and El Centro College began her college journey in 1972, but she had to put her studies on hold in order to nurse her sick child back to health. From there, the demands of motherhood took precedence over continuing her studies, but she made a promise to her family to one day go back.
That promise, however, required overcoming some major hardships.
While driving through Grand Prairie in the spring of 2012, Kathy was plowed into from behind while sitting in traffic. The driver of the SUV was texting when she slammed her vehicle into Kathy's at 85 mph. The tremendous impact of the crash immediately knocked Kathy out and she was quickly rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Upon waking up, she says she could not feel the right side of her body.
Luckily, Kathy escaped life-threatening injuries, but it was a long road to recovery through her rehab process. As a certified ophthalmic technician, she was hoping to balance rehab with work, but her supervisors apparently had other ideas.
“When I started therapy, I was really hurting. Things got worse when I lost my job thanks to missing so much time from work due to rehabilitation. I lost my health insurance and felt despair,” Kathy said. “I needed a way to start over because I was running out of money. I was told because of certain health factors I couldn’t hold a job like I used to. I filed for disability and decided it was time to learn a different trade.”
Down on her luck, recovering from hip and knee replacement surgeries, Kathy decided it was time to revisit her promise.
In the spring of 2017, she enrolled at Mountain View College. "It was close to my house here in south Dallas. My funds were limited, and if I ever had car trouble or needed help, I could get to MVC since it’s so accessible. The staff made the registration process harmless and kept telling me to never give up. That meant so much to me.”
Fast forward two years later and you’ll find Kathy walking the stage as a 2019 college graduate. After just four semesters this 66-year-old fulfilled a promise and earned her degree. However, this grandmother of five isn’t done yet. She’s attending UNT Dallas this fall as she pursues her bachelor’s in sociology and minor in psychology. Her goal is to graduate in two years or less.
“The professors at MVC talked to me about my strengths and what I could build on. You might lose something physically, but as long as God lets you have a mind and a will, don’t ever give up. As long as you live, no matter how old, you can always learn something and help somebody else.”
It's never too late to earn your degree. Just ask Kathy.