65-Year-Old Grandmother ‘Overwhelmed’ To Be Named High School Valedictorian

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Age is just a number.

Not only did Twyanna Williams, sixty-five, graduate high school this week, but she was also named as the valedictorian of her class at Philadelphia’s South Philadelphia High School. How motivational is that?

“It was fun,” Williams says when explaining how it felt going back to school.

Williams was among the students who decided to get their degrees through the city’s Educational Options Program that enables adults to earn their high school diploma.

“Oh, my goodness, I was overwhelmed,” she said to TODAY.

“I was so ecstatic and excited and couldn’t believe that I did that. I made it that far? I was really excited. It was exciting for me and I felt important. I felt special.”
Williams would love to be an example of what anyone can accomplish.
“I hope I inspire people that are my age and older that’s dropped out of school to go back,” she said, “It’s not that bad.”

“That was always in the back of my head, to get my diploma,” she said.

She went on to have 2 children of her own, but was always focused on gaining an education for herself too.
The grandmother of 4, who is now retired, dropped out of school when she was just fifteen to get a job in order to help her mother pay her bills after she divorced Williams’ father.

“It was good timing for me because you couldn’t go out, couldn’t go anywhere,” Williams said about educating herself throughout a pandemic.

In early 2020, Williams went back to school through the EOP, saying it “was the right time” for her to do so. Like millions of other students, she wound up going to school online during the pandemic and actually found it to be an enjoyable experience, something that many other students found draining.

“I was like, ‘This a good chance to pass the time away.’ I’m retired. I’m sixty-five, I’m not working anymore. I’m on a fixed income. So I was like, ‘let me go back to school, this is my time to go back to school, get my diploma’.”

The school provided Williams with a computer and she made the most of her at home education during the pandemic.
“I didn’t miss any days. I was there every day. I was set up every day in front of that computer,” she said, showing her determination to get the most out of her educational experience, inspiring more people to go back to school if they hadn’t had the chance when they were younger or are too scared to take the leap.

“I would like for the whole world to know that it’s never too late to go back to school, no matter what age you drop out,” she said, “It’s never too late. It is important. Education is very important.”

So, whether you are eighteen or sixty-five, age doesn’t matter… education is still education.

What do you think about education? Is it important to you?