While she jokingly refers to herself as “the oldest living college student” Wakefield mother and grandmother Laurie Anslono has proven that dreams really can come true if you are willing to pour your heart and soul into making them happen.
In fact, her recent late-in-life experience at North Shore Community College, capped by her graduation with a 4.0 GPA last week, has prompted the former actress and mime to write a book to encourage others to follow in her footsteps, “I’m Out of Estrogen and I Have Essays to Write.”
“My college career can be best described as a dream deferred. As a child, I was challenged with learning difficulties and a college education was not something that I could reach for or attain. I put the dream on the shelf, and let it collect dust for many years. However, the dream never let go of me. I am happy to report that the dream thieves lost their battle,” Anslono said.
Like many other career changers or older students, Laurie enrolled in the college’s Women in Transition (WIT) Program in 2013. “I determined, “I am in it, to win it!” By changing my words, I changed my world. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how committed the professors of North Shore are to the success of their students. No matter how high I wanted to climb academically, or grow practically through their professional experience, they were willing to climb with me.”
The program set her on a solid path to college coursework and along the way she also took advantage of the many other college activities. She: served as Vice President of the WIT Club for which she received a Student Association Service Award; became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Sigma Alpha Pi, The National Society of Leadership and Success. And, the former professional mime who trained under Marcel Marceau, the legendary French mime, joined the Performing Arts Council (PAC) and performed in two NSCC stage productions and offered a Mime course through NSCC’s Division of Corporate and Community Education.
“North Shore Community College gave me a firm foundation for my future academically, and a healing from my past educational disappointments. I have been told that my journey has been inspirational, that I have shown courage returning to school. Yet, as I have walked the halls, and sat in the classrooms of North Shore Community College, I have witnessed that courage comes in many faces and forms. It lives in the life of the single parent, working, raising a family, while continuing their education. In the veteran returning home from active duty, to now concentrate on building additional skills needed for civilian life.
“It is seen in the student, whose first language is not English, and perseveres with that much more determination, and it appears in the student who is the first one in their family to ever graduate college, carrying upon them the hopes, and dreams of past generations. It is apparent in the young student working two to three jobs, supporting themselves, not giving up on their education. It radiates abundantly in those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges, who will not allow any difficulty to prevent their advancement, and it is evident in the older student, who sets aside their age, in order to pursue their dreams. They are the faces of courage!
This fall Laurie will continue her education at Salem State University to study for a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater arts, proving that it is never too late to follow your dreams.