A single mum from Burpengary who left her family home at the age of 14 has turned her life around and graduated with a Diploma of Nursing in honour of her daughter Rosella.
Mater Education awarded Moreton Bay mum Latoya Wesley, 26, a Financial Hardship Scholarship and last week (August 17) she graduated with a Diploma of Nursing alongside 90 fellow graduates.
Latoya says being awarded the Mater Education nursing scholarship “meant everything” to her.
“I am very grateful for the chance Mater has given me. I wouldn’t haven’t been able to otherwise pursue my dream career in nursing,” Latoya says.
“Since I can remember, I have wanted to be in a position where I can help people. I’ve always felt a want inside me, to make a difference, big or small.”
Latoya completed her Certificate III in Health Services Assistance with Mater Education in 2021 and as part of her Diploma of Nursing studies undertook placements at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane as well as the orthopaedics ward at Mater Hospital Brisbane.
“The educators were my support team, they were there for me during the hardest times and the happiest times,” she said.
“It was really hard to study with a little one as I didn’t have much support. Juggling my daughter’s school and studying was well worth it – we managed to get through it.”
An exciting new chapter
Throughout her life Latoya has had to overcome lots of obstacles, but says she is proud of perserving with her studies so she can give her daughter a better life.
“As a teenager, home for me was quite a toxic environment,” Latoya says.
“I had my daughter at 19, while raising both of my younger sisters on and off. All three of my cousins under the age of 16 also lived under my roof for two years. I cooked, cleaned and made sure their education was put first.
“I received no government support for them. I have never had any handouts in life. Every single day, I spent endless nights awake, I didn’t wait for anything.”
Having her daughter and her mother at last week’s graduation made the day extra special for Latoya.
“I was super emotional - I want her (Rosella) to know she will be in a better place than I ever was when I was her age,” she says.
Mater Education Program Coordinator – Diploma Programs Lauren Andrew says she is proud Mater could help Latoya turn her dreams into reality.
“Latoya has overcome many challenges in her life before her studies with us, and Mater Education is proud to support Latoya in her journey to improve her life for both herself and her daughter”.
Mater Education offers scholarship opportunities for students identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, those with refugee backgrounds as well as those facing financial hardship.
“The purpose of our Financial Hardship Scholarship is to provide educational opportunities to students for whom the financial cost of education is a barrier preventing them from studying,” Lauren says.
“By removing this financial barrier scholarship recipients can obtain their qualification and enter the workforce as an Enrolled Nurse.”
To find out more about studying a Diploma of Nursing fee-free at either Brisbane of Springfield this October, visit the website.
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