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Shelburne NSCC grad gets his high school diploma after dropping out to care for sick mother

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SHELBURNE, N.S. - As Kim Nippard watched her son, Ryan Curiston, walk across the stage to collect his high school diploma at long last, she was bursting with pride.

Nippard and other family members were sitting in a crowded auditorium in Shelburne as Curiston collected his diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College adult program.

Curiston is a smart and compassionate 19-year-old working three jobs and, with his newly-printed diploma, he's about to embark on his college career.

Some students drop out of high school because the work is too hard or to join the workforce. The reason for Curiston's lapse in schooling was has mother.  

When Curiston was only 14 years old, he wasn’t the same person he is today. Despite having two RCMP officers as parents, he began to run with a bad crowd.

But then, his single mom got sick.

“At the time I didn’t think it was a big deal,” said Curiston.  “But then I watched her sick on the couch, unable to get up.”

Nippard had raised four boys and, at the time of her illness, Curiston was the last of her children still living at home. She had always taken care of Curiston, but, at a young age, their roles would be reversed.

He went with her to the never-ending stream of medical appointments and took care of her when she was too weak to take care of herself.

Curiston made the decision to take his entire Grade 10 year off to be there for his mother.

Nippard was able to successfully beat her illness and last week marked the day that Curiston was able to close that chapter in his life and look to the future.

“It was a good feeling,” he said.

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