Jamaica is celebrating a special milestone of one of their own!
Violet Edwards, 96, is reportedly the fifth-oldest person in the world to receive a degree as reported by the Caribbean National Weekly. She graduated Mercy College in New York on June 25 with an associate’s degree and 4.0 GPA—while fighting and beating cancer.
Edwards, who now lives in Florida, was born on October 5, 1925, in Kensington in the parish of Portland, Jamaica.
Growing up, she was the first in her village to attend school at Happy Grove High School on a full academic scholarship. Edwards passed her exams during the height of World War II, despite the sacrifices to obtain basic school supplies. She also feared that her exam wouldn’t make it back and forth from England, but it all worked out in her favor.
An avid community volunteer, Edwards did not have the funds to pursue higher education. Instead, she enjoyed a successful career in the Jamaica Postal Service. She made history as the first appointed Female Regional Inspector, a supervisory role in charge of a selected few of the island’s post offices. She later retired.
In pursuit of better opportunities, Edwards relocated her family to the United States, where she ensured that her daughter graduated medical school. Her daughter, Christine Edwards, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is medical director at Florida Perinatal Center, LLC.
Edwards enrolled into the College of New Rochelle in the early 1980s but reluctantly left school one year shy of obtaining her goal of a bachelor’s degree due to financial roadblocks. In the meantime, the proud mother and grandmother, helped her daughter establish her medical practice and cared for her grandchildren.
Upon returning to college, Edwards was informed that the College of New Rochelle had been shut down and Mercy College had obtained the New Rochelle’s student records. Unfortunately, 84 of the credits she earned at her previous school were non transferable.
So Edwards completed online coursework for an associate of science degree, which she indeed earned after being diagnosed with breast cancer in her last year of college.
The new grad underwent surgery. Her final radiation treatment on Tuesday, July 5, Local 10 reported. Edwards’ academic achievement earned her a proclamation from the Jamaican Consulate General, per the news outlet.