Senior Woman Proves It's Never Too Late To Graduate High School

Julia Little  |  June 22, 2012

June is the season of graduation at high schools across the nation, but it's not just teenagers getting their diplomas. At Shaker Heights High School in Ohio, a 97-year-old woman proved it's never too late to graduate, The Associated Press reports.

Ann Colagiovanni, 97, quit high school during the Great Depression so she could work at her father's meat market. She raised two daughters while working at the market until it closed in the 1960s. Now, nearly eight decades after dropping out of high school, she decided to get her diploma.

"It was the Depression years and working was more important than getting your education," Ann's daughter, Emilia Colagiovanni Vinci, told the news outlet. "She did what her father wanted her to do, even though she wanted to graduate. She put her father, her family, before herself."

However, her fervor for education never died. When she was given an honorary diploma at a special ceremony at Shaker Heights High School, she said seeing her name in the diploma brought tears to her eyes.

"When I told her she was getting a diploma, she sobbed as if a pain had been relieved from her heart," Vinci told the news outlet. "I never knew what it meant to her. She wanted this."

Although Colagiovanni's story is rare, many seniors are returning to the classroom in one way or another. Whether at senior living communities or at public and private universities, many are continuing their pursuit of knowledge. According to Ohio's Department of Aging, the state's four-year universities and two-year technical colleges allow students age 60 and older to take any course for free. 

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