NATIONAL

Brownback: greenbacks to follow

NICHOLAS KOHLER September 8 2008
NATIONAL

Brownback: greenbacks to follow

NICHOLAS KOHLER September 8 2008

'The only old one going’— but she did it

RACHEL MENDLESON

Berneice Logan

says she was "a little nervous" on her tirst day of high school two years ago. It had been more than 70 years since the Portage la Prairie, Man., resident, now 88, had been a student. But despite being (as she puts it) "the only old one going," she fit in easily, becoming a fixture at the Portage Learning & Literacy Centre. "They used to tell me they could set their clocks by me' she says. In August she graduated with honours, becoming one of the oldest in the province (and likely the country) to earn a high-school diploma.

Going back to school was more than a whim for Logan, who grew up in rural St. Marks, where classes weren’t offered beyond Grade 8. She says she “always wished to have more education,” but after her own children grew up, she was busy raising her grandson, caring for her ailing mother and, until recently, her husband. After he died of Alzheimer’s, in September 2006, her desire to “keep the brain active,” inspired her to enrol.

Logan may have been the oldest in class (the average age is about 26), but according to teacher Carole Didyk, “she was like the glue.” The students “really gravitated to her,” says Didyk, recalling how she would take note whenever they were absent. And the young men insisted on feeding her parking meter, because, says Logan, “I couldn’t hurry.” She took her studies seriously. Determined to master trigonometry, Logan recalls sitting through the same lesson twice.

Because a full history of graduates’ ages in Manitoba isn’t available (the department is confident she’s among the oldest), it’s hard to say if Logan’s achievement is record-setting. No matter. She’s already thinking about what she’ll study next. At the moment, it’s a toss up between language classes, painting and math. “I haven’t really decided yet.” NI