Wed, Nov 06, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Middle-aged single mom graduates from high school
年過半百讀高中 袁湘雲獲市長獎

Yuan Hsiang-yun holds two model student award certificates in Hsinchu in an undated photograph.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Liberty Times

For some, the slings and arrows of life’s misfortunes can prove to be too much: not so for 51-year-old Yuan Hsiang-yun. Determined not to let herself be defeated by life’s setbacks, Yuan graduated from Hsinchu Kuangfu High School’s Department of Further Education Beauty Treatment Class in June, then two months later obtained a level-two beautician license. As a young girl, Yuan was forced to quit school, and was sold off into child labor. Later, after getting married, Yuan became a victim of domestic violence and was left with no option but to file for a divorce and raise her children on her own, supporting them right up until her son graduated from National Taiwan University’s College of Law. Yuan was finally able to resume her studies at age 51, receiving top marks for her academic performance and conduct. Yuan took on many responsibilities while at school, including being a class monitor, and carried out all of her duties with enthusiasm, winning the affection of teachers and fellow students. On graduation, Yuan was bestowed with several awards which showed she was an exemplary pupil, including the Hsinchu mayor’s award and the school’s model student prize.

Yuan says that when she was five years old, her parents sold her to the Yuan family as an adopted daughter. Her stepmother abused her both physically and verbally. While at elementary school, Yuan was forced to carry out manual labor to supplement her new family’s income. Before graduating from junior high school, Yuan went to work at a factory. After marriage and giving birth to two children, Yuan suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband. Almost losing the will to live, Yuan finally decided to get divorced and was forced to raise her son and daughter on her own.

Yuan’s children are now grown up, and both are now happily employed. Three years ago, under the encouragement of her children, Yuan enrolled at Hsinchu Kuangfu High School’s Department of Further Education Beauty Treatment Class. In each of the six semesters at the school, Yuan came top of her class and was also selected as the winner of an art and literature essay competition, came third in the school’s public speaking contest and received second prize in a hairdressing competition. While at school, Yuan also obtained a level-three hairdressing license.

On the day the examination results were released, Yuan says she cried her heart out and thanked her teachers for their support and guidance. Yuan hopes that her academic achievements late in life can serve as an inspiration to others to never give up and to always aim high.

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)






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