Accomplishing a dream


I grew up in Glenayre, Coquitlam and knew that there was a university on the hill just above us. However, I was encouraged to get a job rather than attend university when I graduated. I got married, had children and, at 35 years old, had what I thought was a successful business career, when I found myself a single parent.

I had always wanted to teach and decided to quit my job at Nike Canada and return to school. I was able to secure a job as a school secretary and took courses through Simon Fraser University via correspondence. I was working as the secretary for the Aboriginal Program in the Langley School District when I was accepted to the Professional Development Program (PDP) in 1997. I now had to take a year without pay and complete the program.

I had established teaching connections when I was finished, but I knew the year would be difficult. My children were now in high school and were both on board in support of me. They had part-time jobs, played sports and could be counted on. We worked as a team. SFU helped me with counseling, bursaries for single parents, and accommodated me with good practicum locations. I was told that single parents often did not complete this program. I was now 42 and needed to complete this course successfully. I had great faculty associates and help financially. SFU made it possible for me to become a teacher.

I was hired by Langlery immediately after completing my PDP and have been teaching ever since. I finished my BA in 1999. My two children watched their mother accomplish her dream of being a teacher. This had a profound affect on their own goals and they are both successful today.

Cathy Hughes
PDP 1997, B.Ed. 1999, Graduate Diploma 2003

Read all the stories from the 1990s