You are never too old to return to the classroom.
Ever since passing religious knowledge with distinction in the Jamaica School Certificate examination nearly four decades ago, Edith Coley has quietly aspired to become an ordained minister.
She fulfilled the dream recently, graduating with a theology degree from Canada Christian College (CCC).
The working mother of six children graduated with honours after completing the program by attending classes part-time over a 42-month period.
“I came to Canada as a teenager in 1975 to explore opportunities and pursue higher education that included theology,” said Coley. “This degree has prepared me for the ministry in the contemporary world.”
Coley has been a member of the Scarborough Church of God for the past 28 years.
“It has been a wonderful congregation and I want to thank all the members for their unwavering support,” she said.
Prior to enrolling at CCC, Coley graduated from George Brown College with a computer programming certificate, Centennial College with an accountant/programmer analyst and business finance diplomas and Seneca College with a mortgage agent certificate.
She worked as an accountant and mortgage and daily pricing administrator for 21 years with a mutual fund company before joining Seneca College about 18 months ago as a Caribbean Studies professor.
Though a resident in the Greater Toronto Area for 38 years, Coley is still proud of her Jamaican roots.
She loves to relate that she was born and raised in the small Manchester community of Kendal and just a few metres away from one of the worst rail disasters in Jamaican history.
Coley was just a few months old when a double engine diesel train with 12 wooden coaches and nearly 1,600 passengers – the majority of them were St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church parishioners returning to Kingston from a church excursion to Montego Bay – derailed and plummeted over a precipice in September 1957.
A total of 200 people died in the accident and nearly 700 were injured.
“I did not lose any family members but some of them assisted in the clean-up operation,” said Coley.
The fruit does not fall far from the tree as all of Coley’s children are leading successful lives.
Eldest child Maryann is a Real Estate Council of Ontario administrator, Kevin is a musician, Brian is a social worker, Natasha is a real estate agent, Dionne is a lawyer, college professor and politician and Natalie is an audit advisor with Dell in Texas.
Coley was invited by the Golden Key International Honour Society to attend U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration and the University Presidential Inauguration Conference in Washington in January 2009.