Achievers without formal school education

Here we tell you about four exemplary achievers who never completed their formal studies.

British nurse, social reformer and statistician Florence Nightingale

The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, also known as “The Lady with The Lamp”, never went to school. She was taught at home by her father, William Nightingale who took special interest in her education. He gave her special lessons in literature, history and philosophy. Not only did she excel in languages and mathematics, she could read and write Italian, Greek, German and Latin at an early age. In fact, she occasionally engaged in social discourses and political issues with her father.
Florence was born into a rich, well-connected and upper-class on May 12, 1820 and was named after the city she was born in. It was during the Crimean War that she gained prominence as the manager of nurses trained by her. As she made rounds to attend to the wounded soldiers at night with a lamp, people started calling her, The Lady with The Lamp.
She laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her Nursing School at St Thomas’ Hospital in London in 1860. Now part of King’s College London, it was the first secular nursing school in the world. She died peacefully in her sleep at 10 South Street, Mayfair, London on August 13, 1910, at the age of 90.


Founder of McDonald’s Ray Kroc

As a kid, Raymond “Ray” Croc had no interest in studies though he did attend school but never went to college. Born on October 5, 1902 to parents of Czech origin, Ray was just 14 when he started the Ray Kroc Music Emporium with a friend. The duo sold sheet music where Ray would play the piano which he had learnt from his mother. A year later, he lied about his age to begin his training as a Red Cross ambulance driver as he patriotic towards is country during World War I. Like Ray, another Oak Park resident worked as an ambulance driver, famous American author Ernest Hemingway. During this training period, he made friends with Walt Disney.
Between 1918 and early 1950s, Kroc tried his luck as a paper cuo salesman, jazz musician, pianist and band member. Once, he boarded at one of the restaurants of Ray Dambaugh to learn the strategies to do restaurant business. It was in 1955 that he joined McDonald’s and built it into one of the most successful fast food corporation in the world.
Kroc died of heart failure at a San Diego hospital in California, on January 14, 1984, at the age of 81.


British scientist Michael Faraday

One of the most influential scientists in history, Michael Faraday received little formal education and had to educate himself. Born on September 22, 1791, Michael was 14, he joined bookbinder and bookseller George Riebau in Blandford Street as an apprentice. It was during this seven-year-period that Michael read many books including Isaac Watts’ “The Improvement of Mind”, and he started implementing the suggestions and principles therein. This developed an interest in science, especially electricity.
But the turning point in his life was when he ended his apprenticeship period and was given four tickets to attend four lectures to be delivered by chemistry professor Humphry Davy and founder of City Philosophical Society, John Tatum by a regular customer at Riebau’s, William Dance who was one of the founders of the Royal Philharmonic Society. Later, Michael bagged a temporary job as a secretary to Davy and was appointed as chemical assistance to Davy in 1813 at the Royal Institution.
During this period, he involved in the study of chlorine and conducted experiments on the diffusion of gases. He was successful in liquefying several gases, investigating the alloys of steel and producing several new kinds of glass intended for optical purposes. He contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry and his main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light. He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis.
As a chemist, Faraday discovered benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as “anode”, “cathode”, “electrode” and “ion”.


Boxer Mary Kom

Five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships, Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte or Mary Kom was born on November 24, 1982. She is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal.
Mary’s parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom were tenant farmers who worked in jhumfields. She studied at Loktak Christian Model High School at Moirang up to class six. For the next two years, she attended St Xavier Catholic School, Moirang, for the next two years. Mary moved to Adimjati High School in Imphal for her schooling for class IX and X but was unable to pass the matriculation exam. Not wishing to reappear, she quit her school and gave her examination from NIOS, Imphal and graduation from Churachandpur College.
In 1998, around the time when she started taking interest in athletics, especially javelin and 400 m running that fellow Manipuri Dingko Singh returned from Bangkok Asian games with a gold. This not only inspired Mary but many more back then and this saw her trying boxing. Soon, she decided to become a boxer. With sheer hard work and dedication, Mary became the first Indian woman boxer to get the Gold in the Incheon Asian Games in 2014. Earlier in 2017, she was appointed as a national observer for boxing along with Akhil Kumar by the Union Sports Ministry.

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