The 49-year-old mother-of-five who managed to overcome odds, including pregnancy, that forced her to drop out of high school at age 15, to later become a college graduate, says since her story was highlighted some interesting developments have started to take place in her life.
Yasmin Gordon says she has been getting backlash from some Jamaicans over the decision she took to highlight her story of success after facing years filled with extreme challenges.
“Since my story was highlighted I have been receiving a lot of praise from persons both locally and overseas but what has left me disturbed is that fact that some persons have reached out to criticize me for the decision to highlight my story,” Gordon told Loop News.
“Some persons have come up to me to say I did not have to publicize that part of my life,” said Gordon.
Gordon, who is now a teacher, says she intends to use both the praise and criticism as motivation for the next challenge that she intends to take on in her life and that is to become a motivational speaker.
“Already I am a part of a group in my community (Clarendon) and through that group, I try to encourage people around me to never give up on their dreams,” Gordon said.
Gordon says she intends to take the dream even further to become a mentor for women across the island.
“As for her detractors, she also had kind words for them.
“The people who came up to me to criticize me and to say that I should have kept that part of my life quite I told them that I strongly believe that by highlighting my story there are other persons out there who will hear about it and be encouraged and that is what is happening right now,” said Gordon.
“Last week a woman who was well in her 30’s came to me and said because of my story she had decided to return to school and further her education, she said if I can do it she can do it and that is what I want to see,” said Gordon.
In her story published in the first week in November, Gordon said after she dropped out of school she went so close to giving up on her dream.
Among the setbacks, Gordon – over a period spanning some 20 years, starting in the 1990s – tried close to 10 times without success to pass the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations that would allow her to matriculate to college.
What’s worse is that Clarendon-based Gordon had to repeatedly endure the pain of people telling her that she would not amount to anything good in life.
“Imagine dropping out of school as a teenager, trying to take CXC on numerous occasions and failing,” Gordon told Loop News as she recalled the disappointments.
She said a lack of family and financial support were behind much of her setbacks, explaining that, on at least five occasions, she studied hard for CXC but just could not raise the necessary funds to pay for the exams.
To make matters worse, after having her first child, Gordon would go on to have four more children before passing her first subject.
Months would turn into years with Gordon, who was mostly a single mom over that period, having to put a hold on her dream of earning a degree in order to provide for her children.
Undeterred, she would later enrol in a police youth club in her community and that was where friends continued to encourage her never to give up on her dream.
Determined, she worked odd jobs to make ends meet.
“At one point I worked in a bar, I even worked as a housemaid and later would get a job as a caregiver at a basic school,” Gordon said.
She used part of her mere $30,000 a month from working at the basic school to enrol in private classes with a view to finally getting over the CXC hurdle.
She eventually took over her CXC subjects, passing four after close to 20 years of trial and failures.
Having four subjects was not enough. She needed five to matriculate into college to start her degree programme.
She was given a lifeline by the Catholic College of Mandeville, which allowed her to start the degree programme – but told her she had to pass CXC mathematics in order to graduate.
Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Gordon made the trip from Clarendon to school in Mandeville almost daily.
“People around me used to ask how did I do it but I was determined to make good of myself,” Gordon said.
In late October, the dream would finally come true and Gordon managed to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in primary education.