57-year-old woman graduates from college

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Florida’s Monique Laroche is living proof. The 57-year-old Plantation woman just received her Bachelor’s degree from Broward College. It wasn’t the economy that motivated Laroche, it was something much bigger.

Laroche is a mother of four and raising her kids was her number one priority, so college was put on hold until the kids were grown. “While I was in school my husband got sick. After two years he was diagnosed with cancer and he died,” Laroche said. “I couldn’t continue going to school.”

With her husband of 30 years gone, Laroche dropped out. Finally, she thought of her husband to get her motivation back. “The best thing for me was to get my mind preoccupied,” she said. “The minute I walked in the door I was a different person.”

That’s when Laroche started going straight to school from work. Not only helping herself, Monique was inspiring her son Vladimir. “He decided to quit his full-time job and go back school,” she says. “I’ll be completing my degree program in December and she’s been behind me the whole way,” Vladimir Laroche said. “To see her walk across the stage and be recognized for her accomplishments was a great thing.”

Laroche’s husband inspired her, and now she’s inspiring so many others. “My grandchildren want to walk and get their diploma because they saw me doing it,” Laroche said. “They saw their parents doing it too.” She never gave up, and has a Bachelor’s degree in management and supervision to show for it.

“I’m happy in a way because I did it…not happy in a way that my husband is not here to see me accomplish what I always wanted to do,” she said. Laroche currently works as a treasurer at Miami-Dade public schools. She doesn’t know yet what she wants to do with her degree, but said she is already planning to go back and earn her Master’s degree.