Kerry Graduates with First Class Degree
A Staffordshire woman has demonstrated that it’s never too late to learn after graduating with a first class degree.
Originally from Jamaica, Mum-of-four Kerry Ann Hemans had her first child when she was eighteen before moving to the UK.
Motivated to return to education whilst working in a care home during the Covid pandemic, Kerry enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University.
Kerry, 42, from Uttoxeter said: “My son went to university and we made a pact, that when he completed his degree I would apply to university myself.
“Covid happened and the course that I chose to study was even more needed. I’ve always wanted to give back and help others. To give that support and care to people who deserve it and need it.”
Kerry continued to work full-time alongside her studies, keeping her degree a secret from extended family.
“After over 20 years of not being in a classroom, academic study was completely new to me, all the terminologies frightened me, and I questioned myself.
“Then I remember one question that was asked by my lecturer: “What is my ‘Why’?” It was at that moment I decided my ‘why’ – to fulfil a promise I had made to myself of going back to school after becoming a teenage mom.
“The lecturers were amazing and so understanding of my situation. I can’t rave about them enough.”
When Kerry eventually revealed to family that she was at university in her final year, it came as a huge surprise. Then at her graduation ceremony Kerry delivered the student vote of thanks in front of hundreds of guests, including her family.
“This journey was personal to me and was something I wanted to prove to myself. My mom, my dad, my sister – they didn’t know about it. When I told my extended family, especially my mom, they were just crying,” Kerry commented.
Having graduated with first class honours, Kerry plans to do a Masters in Public Health and has long-term ambitions to open a care home for the black and ethnic minority community alongside her sister who is a mental health nurse.
“I am going to be 43 this year and I’ve just achieved my degree. Never put a limit on you, you will achieve it. I have done it, so just know that you can do it if you believe in yourself!”