Marina DeRoy grew up in Montreal. She loved school as a child but her home life was dysfunctional. She didn't have the support or push she needed to succeed in school. Some days she couldn't go to school because she had to look after her younger siblings. Survival trumped school and she dropped out of school in Grade 8. Since then going back to school was always in the back of her head.
When she was 17 she left home and went to work in Alberta. She had heard you could get a well paying job without your GED there. She spoke only French and worked hard to learn English in the evenings. By the time she was 19 she was making very good money. She stayed on this path for the next 28 years. She took training courses that applied directly to the work she was doing and quickly moved her way up.
When her daughter was 16 years old, Marina remembers she asked for help with her school work. Marina didn't understand what her daughter was studying. This was an eye opener. She realized her younger children would soon grow up and ask her these same questions. Going back to school began to seem like the right thing to do. It would take her two years to convince herself to take the leap.
The "rich and rush" culture of Alberta had also started to get to Marina. She began to think that she and her children would benefit from a new experience. She has family in PEI and felt her children would also benefit from getting to know them.
Marina says moving from Alberta was one of the hardest things she's had to do. She had a house, a career and a life that she had built for her family. She sold everything and moved to PEI. Once her kids where settled into life here she went to Holland College. She says she doesn't regret it one bit. Going back to school has given her so much confidence and hope for the future, especially her children's future.
She will soon write her GED and plans to take education courses at UPEI. She says she would like to work in mental health. She says "Holland College is fantastic. The second you walk in the door you enter a supportive, positive environment. Everyone is here to learn and help each other learn. You are not alone. We were all scared before we came back to school. Now I feel so proud."