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A Mother of Motivation and Student of Strength

By: Rayah Hammad

On July 25, 1968, in the city of spring, Colombia, a woman who made her own destiny was born. Nora Mercado, is a person who has made a difference in every person she has met. The mystery of the future hid a lot for Mercado, but little did it know that she gets power with every breath she takes.

Mercado’s college journey took a little while to be crowned with a bachelor’s degree. In 1995, Mercado graduated from college after majoring in Business Administration, her love for this field came after one of her friends offered her a job at “Banko Popular.” At this bank, Mercado was loved and respected; she spent ten years visiting claims and working with Banko Popular’s clients..

As a young girl, Mercado dreamt of living her own life after graduating high school inn 1986, when Mercado did graduate, she did, not have straight A's but only average grades. Unfortunately, this prevented her from pursuing her dream to become a dentist.

The pressure of making big life decisions with a short period of time which Mercado was faced with, are still experienced by many students today“Life is not easy when you have no back to lay on, the sources of support that I have are limited,” Mercado expressed.

What mostly comes after graduation? Yes, that’s right, marriage. At least, that was Nora’s situation. At the age of 31, Mercado had decided to enter the golden cage of marriage with an American-Filipino man who, according to Mercado, loved and cherished her with every piece of his heart. On June 19, 1999, a day that Mercado will not forget—she married the man who would father her son Lukas. According to Mercado, Lukas is the only true love that she has ever known.

After one year of her marriage, on June 23, 2000, Mercado and her husband moved to the United States for a new chapter of life. Unfortunately, Mercado lost her husband in 2009 and that changed her life's direction. she and her son had to move in with a friend of Nora's for a while. Nora worked as a part-time job as a medical assistant was able to send her son to school and.

The fall of 2009 was the beginning of Mercado's journey at Passaic County Community College. She was placed in level 020 of the ESL program that PCCC offers for bilingual students. "It hurts when you have a professional background and a career, that you can't use," Nora said with tears.

Mercado graduated from the ESL program in 2012; one of the things that helped her to get through this program is working at the Docu-Center in PCCC. "I did it for my son," Mercado expressed about the obstacles of teaching her son in English.

As Mercado strives to graduate from PCCC with an early childhood major, she tries to use the time to happily live. She has dreamed about working with kids for the past few years; that's why she changed her major from Liberal Arts to Early Childhood Education.

After graduating from PCCC, Mercado’s goal is work as a teacher assistant in a daycare. She has the full experience with children to ensure her getting that job according to the volunteering hours that she had to do each semester of her major.

At this time for Nora is all about her son, education, and work. She is an example of a strong independent woman who creates energy for survival. “I’m a grateful person, I’m not the best, but I have what others dream of,” Mercado commented on her life.

Through the dark, through obstacles, through it all, women can do it on their own, with confidence and strength. They raise kids on their own and go back to business without complaining about what God chose for them.

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