Now this is a story that can encourage someone else to follow their dreams.
Yesterday (Jun. 5), Doreetha Daniels, a 99-year-old woman originally from Nebraska, graduated with her associate’s degree from California’s College of the Canyons. After setting her sights on earning the accolade back in 2009, perseverance led Daniels to the stage at her commencement ceremony. According to a press release from the school, Daniels’ accomplishment came after years of going the extra mile.
“There will be some tears of accomplishment for sure,” Daniels said ahead of her graduation. “I understand that to earn a degree in college at age 99, that’s a bit unusual.”
Faced with navigating the college’s campus, computer literacy requirements, collegiate math (which she hadn’t taken in 63 years) and keeping up with younger students, Daniels was met with quite a number of challenges on her journey. Simply setting out to complete her education before her 100th birthday, she met them head-on, by arriving earlier to school for tutoring sessions. She was eventually heralded as “one of the most dedicated and hardworking students in the class” by a statistics professor.
According to local news station KTLA, Daniels also gained an extra push from her grandchildren, who were pursuing their master’s degrees. She was asked to speak at “Career and Life Planning” course at the school, and commented on how technological distractions have become a hinderance in classrooms.
“It seems like the iPhones in their lap are sometimes more important to students than what’s going on in the classroom,” she said. “I think somebody needs to say something or something needs to happen to show the younger ones how special and unique their opportunity to learn is.”
Despite suffering strokes and losing her driver’s license, Daniels made her way to her commencement ceremony, where she was celebrated as the eldest graduate in the schools 45-year history.
“Don’t give up. Do it. Don’t let anybody discourage you,” she told her classmates. “Say that, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and do it for yourself.”
Watch Doreetha Daniels speak at her graduation in the video above.