Is 71 years a good time to start a new phase in your career? For 71-year-old Leroy Harley, the answer to that question is straightforward. The retiree just earned his diploma from the University of South Carolina. He joined this university because he wanted to become a teacher and to share with young people what he had learned in his life.
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Leroy Harley has gained a lot of useful skills. In his youth he was a dancer, and then took various jobs – he worked, among other things, in a cosmetics company. When he retired, he had no time to be bored because he had to take care of his sick mother. For this reason, he returned to his hometown. “After my mom recovered, I found I could either sit on the balcony or get busy,” Harley said on Good Morning America.
chose the latter. The idea of what to do brought life. Leroy spent his spare time helping his nephews learn. He got a lot of satisfaction from this, so his mother advised him to volunteer with the kids at a local school. It was a bull’s eye. Harley loved it, but found that part-time wasn’t enough for him. He decided to become a teacher. But the snag was that he didn’t have a diploma – years before, he only had a BA in dance. In 2020, he enrolled in a supplementary education program at the University of South Carolina.
It was close and Harley would not have fulfilled his dream. The coronavirus pandemic has stopped the way. Last year, Leroy fell seriously ill and had to suspend his studies after the summer session. But as soon as he recovered, he started catching up. During his studies, Harley not only gained knowledge, but also checked whether he was fit to be a teacher. He worked as an assistant teacher at a private school, ran art lessons, taught keyboards, and even founded a drama club. Thanks to this, he was sure that he was in his element at school with his students. Now that he has earned his degree, he can start a new chapter in his career.
Work is already waiting for him, and there is also support. We have a staff that will support him for the next three years and help him deal with the challenges that await the teacher, because we know that in the beginning there were many of them. We really want to help,” said George Roy, a lecturer in Teacher Complementary Studies at the University of South Carolina.
Leroy Harley hopes his story will inspire other seniors and make them think that they can still give so much to society. – I grew up when I retired at 65. But this approach pays many people who have knowledge, not necessarily academically, but can help young people. So let’s share it – he says.
“Infuriatingly humble musicaholic. Problem solver. Reader. Hardcore writer. Alcohol evangelist.”