November 2023

The Family That Studies Together

For the past couple of years, I have watched and supported my husband Bob in his quest to earn his Bachelor’s Degree. I have always admired his tenacity and skill to learn something new. He has been retired for several years, but is always busy. In addition to his schoolwork, he also coaches’ football, wrestling and track.

I have three older children who are in their mid to late thirties and we have two high schoolers at home. In addition, we have grandchildren who range in age from Elementary school to early twenties.

Since my retirement from Law Enforcement, I have obtained my certifications in massage therapy and personal training. Other than working a few hours a week, I have mostly been taking care of home tasks and supporting the kids with their school and sports activities.

I have recently dealt with health issues and decided I needed to refocus and give myself a goal.

This fall semester, my older daughter Elizabeth, my grandson Raymond, my high school daughter, Sophie, and I decided to enroll at Cabrillo College.

My older daughter Elizabeth has been attending Cabrillo since last year. Her long-term plans are to receive a degree in social work. She is a true success story and inspiration.

For years she struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. Beth (as I call her) has been clean and sober for almost four years (in October), has a home and a wonderful job that she loves.

Cabrillo has been an amazing place for her and I have no doubt that she will fulfill her dreams. Beth is a very compassionate human being and would give someone the shirt off her back. She has extra clothing in her car that she gives to needy folks on the street. Beth is very caring, and I am sure she will have a lot to offer in her chosen field of study.

My daughter Sophie is a senior at Aptos High. She also decided to register at Cabrillo this fall and take English and Kinesiology classes. From the time she was 5 years old, she has always said she wanted to be a doctor. Sophie plans to go to a four-year university when she graduates next year, her first choice is Stanford. Sophie plans to be a pediatrician, specializing in Orthopedics.

My 20-year-old grandson Raymond, who attended Cabrillo in the past, is also attending this fall. Raymond is a talented artist and is taking graphic design and 3-D art classes. Although Raymond has had some learning challenges, he continues to push forward to realize his dream of becoming a graphic artist and I know he will.

Inspired by my family’s motivation, I decided to challenge myself and register at Cabrillo this fall. I thought it would be a good idea to start with one online class. I chose Kinesiology because I have always been an athlete and I thought it would be something relatable. I have not been in school for over 20 years, and I rarely use a computer, which is only going to add to the challenge.

Cabrillo is a few blocks from our home. The staff has been amazing, helping us navigate through enrollment and answer any questions. Everywhere I have been on campus, I have met people who are more than willing to help and guide me. Cabrillo is an extremely comfortable and inclusive campus.

I am so very blessed and proud of my husband and children who continue to further their educations and work towards their educational and professional goals. Three generations of my family are at Cabrillo this fall and looking at the picture we took reminds me that it is never too late to follow your dreams.

My hope is that by sharing our story, we will inspire others to challenge themselves and follow their dreams.

I am not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I am sure I will figure it out by my 63rd birthday next year…. GO SEAHAWKS!

By Ramona Pursley

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