BROCKTON — With her two daughters at school and her husband at work, 32-year-old Diane Zouabet Tchaya starts her hour-and-a-half drive from her home in Brockton to Northeastern University‘s campus in Boston.

On campus, she takes a full day of classes from around 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., working toward a master’s degree in accounting which she’ll receive at the end of August.

The previous night, she worked a long shift at the League School of Greater Boston in Walpole, where she is a direct residential aid for children diagnosed with autism each weekday from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. 

She chews gum during her classes just to keep herself awake.

“I work overnight then come back to school during the day,” she said. “In class, I’m so sleepy trying to keep up.”

Tchaya, who immigrated with her family to Boston from Cameroon just under 6 years ago, works tirelessly every day of the week to make sure her daughters have food to eat, and her classes are paid for.

“It’s just hard to handle everything, you know,” she said. “And with the children, it’s not easy.”

Brockton resident Diane Zouabet Tchaya, 32, will receive a Master's degree in accounting from Northeastern University at the end of August.

On April 13, she was sitting in class when she received an email from the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MassCPAs) titled “Congratulations.”

She was awarded a major scholarship that would subsidize her education.

“You know when you have your heart going fast,” she said. “I had to read the email again to make sure it wasn’t some kind of scam.”

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