Myrna Henao always wanted her adult daughters to get a college degree. So a few years ago, she insisted that they complete their educations and they enrolled at Monroe College. Little did she know that it would only be a matter of time before they would turn the tables and insist that she, too, get a college education. And so she did, and during Monroe’s Bronx campus Commencement Ceremonies on Friday, June 2 at Columbia’s Wein Stadium, Myrna Henao, a 60 year-old grandmother, will proudly receive her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.
“She didn’t think she would be able to do it,” said Jamyr Henao, 35, a 2005 Monroe graduate, who is now a manager at a therapy clinic in Manhattan. “But my sister Jazmine and I knew that because of the environment of care and nurturing by the professors, staff, and even students at Monroe, that she’d be able to do it.”
“My children were 100% right”, said Myrna a week before the big day. “I was afraid, but I’ve been very happy at Monroe because if you have a problem, someone will help you.” Myrna’s Criminal Justice education has already borne fruit. Earlier this spring she was awarded a certificate as an Auxiliary Police Officer by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in a ceremony at Police Plaza. After graduation she plans to use her Monroe degree to help her launch a career as a juvenile counselor.
Jamyr thought enough of the Monroe supportive culture of success that helped her mom, that she enrolled her son, Jeffrey Gallego, who is now a major in Computer Information Systems. Sister Jazmine, 28, an Accounting major from the Class of 2004, now works for Sirius Satellite radio. Clearly, Monroe College educations have made important impressions on the Henao women.
“Because of what I received from Monroe,” Jamyr said, “I want to give back and I’m currently helping to set up a tutoring program in the college’s Health Services Department.” For Grandma Myrna, this has been an uplifting, inspiring experience. “Lots of mothers think they’re not going to be able to do it. But age doesn’t count. At Monroe, you can get it done!”