Union Island school drop-out earns his doctorate
Although circumstances forced him to drop out of school at a young age, Reynold Ferary did not give up his dreams of attaining a higher education, and now at the age of 59, the pastor has graduated with his Doctorate in Business Administration.
Ferary, who now lives in Alberta, Canada, was born on Union Island in the St Vincent Grenadines. He attended school in that Grenadine island where he was forced to drop out at 15 years old, having failed certain exams and not being given a second chance.
The teen toiled as a construction worker during the day, and donned a waiter’s uniform at the Anchorage Yacht Club in Clifton, during the night.
There were times when negativity crept up on him during those days.
“…There was several times when I felt, well what’s the point, you’re not gonna make it anyhow. Again those negative self talk,” he recalled to SEARCHLIGHT via the phone on June 4; “…and circumstances were really, really bad,” he remembered.
“…At the night I worked at the restaurant until the restaurant closed at sometimes 12, one o’clock, and at 8 o’clock in the morning I had to show up for work in construction. And at six o’clock in the evening I had to be there at the restaurant.”
But he had a passion for education and a goal, which was to work, and save money to attend a private school to complete his secondary education.
When he had enough money to make a start in school, he left Union Island in 1981 and went to Trinidad. He started in form three where he left off, and went through form four and five, before sitting his secondary exit examinations, all while funding himself.
He attended a private college after this, “I pursued a double major, I studied theology as my main course of study and I studied for a degree in social studies as a social studies teacher at the Secondary School level.”
He graduated in 1989.
Ferary then worked in communities from Questelles to Chateaubelair as an intern pastor with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, then moved to St Lucia where he completed his internship and then worked as a District Leader. He left St Lucia five years after and was assigned to Portsmouth Dominica.
His wife, who is from Tobago, and their three children then went to Mexico, where Ferary enrolled at the Northern Mexican Montemorelos University, where he did a Masters in Family Life Education between 1998 and 2001.
At this Spanish University he took the opportunity to learn Spanish and become bilingual.
After graduation, in transitioning, he spent time in the USA, before taking up a job in Canada.
“I’ve been here in Western Canada since that time. Since my first appointment here, I’ve spent time leading a number of churches here in the Province of Alberta, and now I’m a Senior Pastor and a regional leader,” Ferary summarised.
In 2017 he began his doctoral studies at the Montemorelos University, for a PhD in Business Administration.
“…You work and study. So we would have sessions, like intensives, so every year…we would go to Mexico once, and the professors would come to New York and all the doctoral candidates would go to New York and do the intensives,” he explained.
They also did online work on their doctoral dissertation.
Ferary successfully defended his dissertation in April 2020, but graduation was put on hold because of Covid-19 but he held out hope for an in-person graduation. However, the decision was taken to have a virtual ceremony, which was held on May 16.
“…I think in order to get ahead in life, you need an education. If you’re gonna be able to make an impact in society, if you’re gonna be able to make a contribution to the growth and the development of people, you need the tools in order to do that,” he noted.
“…Sometimes we think negatively about ourselves, and sometimes we engage in negative self talk. So do not succumb to that,” he advised anyone who may be in circumstances similar to what he was in at the beginning of his journey.
He recalled that “…At times when I came from school for lunch, there was no lunch and I had to have a drink of some lemonade…and eat a fruit or whatever I had, and go back to school”, adding, “don’t allow your context to define your life and your future.”
“…Don’t allow your circumstances to define your future”.
Currently he conducts seminars around the world, and leads International guided tours to places like Israel and Jordan.
He says he wants to use his doctorate to help the community.
“My research focus was financial satisfaction. So my research was based on personal finance,…the variables that I looked at is financial attitude, financial behaviour, indebtedness and I’m very passionate about that,” he said. For the past 15 years, Ferary said he has been doing seminars on financial freedom.
“I have a passion to go out there and to make a difference, maybe negotiate with Governments and Ministries of Education and see how I can help people to realise that financial education is important for our young people; and if they don’t have the necessary tools in order to make informed financial decisions, they would succumb to the ravages of indebtedness,” he noted.