Medallist takes Beatles' advice

Jun 13, 2002, vol. 24, no. 4
By Carol Thorbes

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North Vancouver resident Lisa Pitt says she owes her realization of a high school dream to living by a line in a John Lennon song.

“I stopped worrying about how I was going to get a university degree with no money and a child on the way. I just remembered the words: ‘Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans,'” says Pitt.

Living in the moment has led Pitt to obtain a bachelor of education and a dean's convocation medal, despite numerous challenges.

The death of her father when she was six plunged her family into poverty.
Watching her mother struggle to support two young girls dashed her hopes of affording a university education.

In her mid-20s, Pitt refocused, sticking to a grueling schedule of working two waitressing jobs to pay for university transfer courses she was taking at Capilano College.

Six months before finishing, Pitt found herself pregnant with her and her partner's first child. She took a year off to care for Emma who was born two months premature.

Extraordinary time management and a network of willing babysitters among her friends and family helped Pitt complete two and a half years of her degree part-time at SFU.

She worked as a waitress part-time and as a research assistant to pay for her schooling.

“I would schedule every hour of every day and fit in when I'd start and end research for a paper,” says Pitt. “There's no way I could do it the night before.”

The ability to do the last two years of her degree fulltime enabled Pitt to compete for scholarships.

A cumulative grade point average that hovered around four (maximum 4.33) kept awards coming in, including one from the B.C. Teachers Federation.

The graduate of Windsor secondary in North Vancouver is now a full-time teacher on call for the Burnaby school district.

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