Completing four years of college is challenging enough for a student who is in their early twenties. It gets more challenging for the working parent who decides to go back to school full time, on top of raising a family and holding down a 9-5 job. But, one 99-year old woman proves that anything can be done when you want it bad enough and put your mind to it. When one woman sets out to get her college degree in order to “better herself,” she manages to leave a mark that will forever be remembered by those who sat in class beside her and those who will struggle to get through college in the future.

In 2009, Doreetha Daniels decided that she wanted to not only take some college classes, but graduate with an associates degree. From the start of Daniels’ college journey, there were bumps in the road. She suffered multiple strokes and struggled with several hearing and sight issues while she was taking classes. It got so bad that her license got revoked, leading to another setback along the way.


In addition to the physical challenges that would have been enough to discourage the average person, Daniels also struggled to keep up with her classmates, especially in college-level math and statistics. She took advantage of all the school had to offer and became a regular at the Tutoring and Learning Center.

But that didn’t stop the determined woman who lived through several of the world’s major events including The Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, the moon landing and the rise of the Digital Age. Maybe it was all that Daniels had been through that had prepared her for the perseverance that she would need to move forward along her education path.

While the fierce woman has witnessed more historical events than most of us, she admits that what happened last week was the most gratifying moment of her life. It was the moment that her diploma was handed to her. Ninety-nine year old Doreetha Daniels is officially the oldest graduate of the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. After graduating with an associates degree in social sciences, Daniels feels accomplished and she is a role model for others who set out to accomplish goals that seem far out of reach. Her words of wisdom include: “Don’t give up. Do it. Don’t let anybody discourage you. Say that, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and do it for yourself.”

It would’ve been easy for Doreetha Daniels to give up when one of her many ailments presented themselves in her path or when the classroom challenges posed to be too much, but she pressed forward and inspired others along the way.


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