THE oldest student in the class is celebrating more than just exam success after her college experience helped her make sense of her life.
Lucille Joyeux looked back on her schooldays still perplexed as to why she was always in the bottom set for English.
“I did really struggle at school and thought I was ‘thick’,” recalled the 62-year-old. “No one ever told me why I was in the class I was in, a class of which I was always top.”
Then the revelation came 50 years later when she enrolled on an English course at Darlington College – to be told she was dyslexic.
“It all makes perfect sense now. I felt the weight had been lifted off my shoulders for the first time and I felt I knew what I was doing. Something just clicked in my brain and I now know that I am not ‘thick’ and can actually do it.
“My Darlington College lecturers Adam Hoyland and Steven Perry were brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I was given a pink screen to read through which helped. The way they taught the class was great; they kept going over and over everything until it all fell into place.
“I had extra classes on the night and in between exams which really helped. I decided that even if I failed I would go back and resit the exams because I was so determined to pass for my lecturers.
“But when it came to the exams, and I read the questions, I thought ‘I know this’ and it felt absolutely marvellous – and I got a Grade 4. It became more than just a course in the end. I knew I wasn’t ‘thick’ anymore and it felt absolutely marvellous and my confidence has gone up massively.”
After studying fashion at college and spending 40 years in the clothing industry, Lucille is now a SEND personal care assistant helping children with disabilities and complex needs at Beaumont Hill Academy, in Darlington.
“So I have actually gone full circle, which is great, and I am loving working with children with special needs,” she said.