Kabutarie Kuntie (Kathy) Singh, a Humber Valley Terrace resident, is living proof that age should never stop you from getting an education. At the age of 67, Kathy received her Bachelor of Arts – with distinction – from the University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus (UTM). How was her graduation different? Instead of going to the ceremony, the ceremony came to her. Kathy received her degree as part of a special graduation ceremony hosted by Humber Valley.
Kathy began her studies in Humanity and World Religion in 2003, at the age of 57. By 2012, she had completed her coursework, but couldn’t attend convocation due to an illness.
Recognizing that Kathy couldn’t attend graduation at UTM, Humber Valley staff decided to host a ceremony honouring Kathy’s educational achievements. Staff arranged for flowers, an elaborate backdrop and music for the ceremony. UTM helped by bringing Kathy’s gown, hood and degree.
Situated in the main lobby, in front of residents, family and staff, Kathy was presented with her degree by Hargurdeep Saini, Vice President and Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga, and Mark Overton, Dean of Student Affairs.
Kathy was very touched, and showed her appreciation during a speech at the event. She thanked Humber Valley and UTM. She also had a few inspiring words on the topic of education, which she shared with staff. "The door is always open for achievement, and disability shouldn’t be a hindrance to yourself or to someone else."
Kathy’s goal is to go out on speaking engagements and inspire people living with disabilities to reach their goals. "There's always another door that is open. Step inside and see what you find," says Kathy. “A lot of people might say 'Oh no, you can't do it. But I say, 'I can do it.' "