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80-Year-Old Woman Became the Oldest Graduate in Alabama A&M University's History

Olawale Ogunjimi
Dec 30, 2019
01:30 P.M.
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Donzella Washington, an 80-year-old African American, recently earned a record of being the oldest graduate in Alabama A&M University, after she bagged a degree in social work.

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No man is a repository of knowledge, as learning happens every day for the open-minded, irrespective of age, color, or background.

Elderly woman wearing graduation cap | Photo: Shutterstock

Elderly woman wearing graduation cap | Photo: Shutterstock

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The newest graduate in town is proof to the above statement that not only is learning achieved on a daily but with sheer dedication and resilience, nothing is impossible.

The Memphis native held her head high amongst the over 400 students who strutted onto the stage to receive their academic honors.

Earlier in the month, at the Von Braun Center, Donzella, who happens to be a Birmingham resident, got her honor after years of devotion and also as a way to honor her husband.

Elderly woman dressed in a graduation gown | Photo: Shutterstock

Elderly woman dressed in a graduation gown | Photo: Shutterstock

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That is not the only drive that fuels her passion for knowledge, as she explained her heart desire during an interview. In her words:

"Learning is just really fun…Even though there was a lot of tears and late hours studying, I never felt like quitting."

Life wasn't always a big win for Donzella, who combatted her speech problem for a while. Growing up for her was a bit tumultuous because she had a stammering problem that plagued her self esteem.

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Although she was able to work on herself with numerous lessons, which she enrolled for at the College of Sequoias; fortunately, the Memphis native regained her self esteem after successfully attacking and overcoming her speech problem.

Apart from inspiring the younger generation, Donzella and her husband had lived a life worthy of praise. During their days in Pixel farm, they fostered 30 children who cohabited with theirs.

Donzella met her husband, Jeff Bakersfield at a Church in California, the pair synced quickly as their faith connected them, and they believed they were a perfect match right from the start.

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Mother and daughter celebrating graduation | Photo: Getty Images

Mother and daughter celebrating graduation | Photo: Getty Images

The couple maintained decades of marriage until his death in 2011. Ever since Bakersfield's passing, she took to studying. She told the media that she wanted to inspire people who think it's impossible to forge ahead with their goals. According to her:

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"It's never too late. You have a dream; please finish that dream. You can do it. You just have to believe in yourself."

Apart from inspiring the younger generation, Donzella and her husband had lived a life worthy of praise. During their days in Pixel farm, they fostered 30 children who cohabited with theirs.

An image of a grandma wearing academic gown hugging her grandson | Photo: Getty Images

An image of a grandma wearing academic gown hugging her grandson | Photo: Getty Images

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Now the kids have good professions, and Kimberly Washington, who happens to be her daughter, mentioned that her parents' love and support for each other is outstanding.

While the Alabama resident has established that age doesn't matter, news of a 9-year-old college student also made the headlines.

Laurent Simmons is studying at the Eindhoven University of Technology, after which he intends to bag a Ph.D. in engineering and later on take on Medicine as a course.

His excellent skills have not only brought smiles to his family, and tutors, but has earned him a record as the "fastest student" in the University.

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