Debby Dearest

Just another UMW Blogs weblog

True Life: Debby Jolissaint –- "Discovering More To Life"


This short story is about how my mother decided to go back to school at the age of 57.

At this point in my life (which is VERY recent) my mother and my father had already put 2 kids through college and grad school, had 2 children attending undergraduate universities in Virginia, and were putting the baby of the family in a Catholic High School where they currently live in Maryland. Since the last of the children was graduating from high school in may and attending a 4 year undergraduate university in the Fall, she decided to pursue her dream of earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice. At the age of 57, my mother was accepted into one of the top graduate nursing programs at the Catholic University of America.

My mother states, “My Italian grandmother was my main motivation for pursuing this goal so late into life.” Theresa Guercio Montalbano, my great grandmother on my mother’s side, got married at 17 and never graduated from high school. After being married almost 40 years she graduated with a GED and enrolled in college at the age of 57. She received an associates degree in history at the age of 60. Her entire family was so proud of her accomplishments. “The whole family was amazed that Maw Maw would want to go to college at 60.” It wasn’t about finding a better job or trying to further her career. My great grandmother just wanted to prove to her family and to herself that anything is possible if you work hard for it and you can achieve anything at any age. My mother states, “My grandmother showed me that all things are possible.

I applied and was accepted to Catholic University Graduate School at the age of 57. Same as my grandmother. When I graduate in a few years with my Doctor of Nursing Practice, I will remember my beautiful grandmother and pay tribute to her memory.”


// <![CDATA[
// Pictured above: Melanie Montalbano Sprague// <![CDATA[
// (far left), Mark Montalbano Sr. (4th from the left)// <![CDATA[
// , // <![CDATA[
// Debby Montalbano Jolissaint (the face being half-covered by the hand)// <![CDATA[
// , David Montalbano (the kid highest up in the photo obviously fist pumping)// <![CDATA[
// , Dawn Montalbano-Riley (underneath Uncle David Montalbano)

This photo above shows my mother, a few aunts/uncles, and various other family from the Montalbano side. New Orleans, Louisiana — Circa 1978.


Pictured from left to right: // <![CDATA[
// Ed Moise// <![CDATA[
// , Tommy Fornof// <![CDATA[
// , Clay Moïse// <![CDATA[
// , Clay Moise// <![CDATA[
// , Jackie Moise Palumbo// <![CDATA[
// , Big Momma// <![CDATA[
// , Terry Fornof// <![CDATA[
// , Jules Moise// <![CDATA[
// , Nino Montalbano Jr.// <![CDATA[
// , Michael Montalbano// <![CDATA[
// , Joyce Wusthoff Montalbano// <![CDATA[
// , Mark Montalbano Sr.// <![CDATA[
// , David Montalbano// <![CDATA[
// , Stephen Montalbano// <![CDATA[
// , Debby Montalbano Jolissaint

City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana. Circa 1961.

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