April 21, 2016 - 9:00 PM
KELOWNA – For students across the southern Interior, graduation means the light at the end of a very long tunnel. It means the successful completion of years of hard work and the start of a new chapter of life. For Candice Loring, however, graduation means so much more.
“My mom always supported education,” she says. “Both of my sisters went to school but I started my family and focused on other things in my 20’s. But my mom always wanted me to go back to school."
In 2012, Loring, a high school dropout with a grade 10 education, found a bridging program for aboriginal students who want to go to university but who don't satisfy the prerequisites. She decided the time was right, applied and was accepted.
“It was great,” she says. “I didn’t think university was an attainable dream being a mom and having dropped out of high school."
She says her mother was was ecstatic.
Loring was only weeks into her first semester when the family got news that would change all of their lives. Her 54-year-old mother Deborah had only weeks to live.
“It happened really fast,” she says. “We took her to the hospital and they told us she had pancreatic cancer... they told us it was terminal."
During the following two weeks, Loring took time off from school so she could be there with her mother. Deborah became worried her daughter would not go back to school.
“I had to make her a promise that I would finish my studies,” Candice says.
Deborah Loring died on April 8, 2012.
Four-and-a-half-years later Candice is now studying for her last final exam and will receive her degree in Business Management from UBC Okanagan on June 9.
“It’s huge,” she says. “I know she’d be proud.”
Loring's last class was on April 8, exactly four years to the day after her mother died.
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