An 89-year-old woman just became a member of the graduating class of 2018.
And as she tells it, Ella Washington is not stopping there.
The octogenarian graduated this past weekend with an associate degree in interdisciplinary studies, and she plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in history at Liberty University in Virginia. It took her six years to complete the degree after enrolling in Liberty’s online program back in 2012.
“Education will help you make the best life for yourselves and those who come after you,” she said of her degree.
Her daughter Ellen Mitchell says that her mother had always been passionate about learning.
“Her desire for learning and for pursuing an education became a family tradition,” Mitchell says in a statement. “She taught all of her children how to read, write, and do math prior to their beginning school, just as her grandmother taught her and her siblings.”
Born in rural North Carolina, Washington had to drop out of school in the sixth grade in order to help with her family’s farm, CBS News reports. She moved to Washington D.C. once she got married and has worked a variety of jobs ranging from a custodian at the Pentagon to an office assistant to a certified nursing assistant at an adult daycare to take care of her 12 children.
At the age of 49, she enrolled in an adult education program to get her GED diploma in 1978. And now, she is working her way to a Bachelor’s degree.
“My mother is a remarkable woman,” Mitchell said to CBS News. “I learned how to be strong because of her example. Now, she has set the bar for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
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