80-year-old Grandma Gets Her GED!

One woman is proving you’re never too old to learn.

Alice Smith is 80. But that didn’t stop her from hitting the books.

Decades ago, the Rice Lake woman left school at the age of 16.

"It was during the war and my 2 brothers -- we were farmers -- and my 2 brothers were both in the service,” she remembered “And my Dad came to me and he said, Alice, you've got to help me or I'm going to have to hire a man."

But at the age of 78, she came back – ready to finish what she had started.

"I had the time and I sure had the initiative,” she said.

In the fall of 2007, Alice came to the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake to get her GED.

"When I came in here it was like a whole new world,” she smiled. “A world of learning."

Basic Skills Instructor Anne Freagon says about 100 students get their GED from the college each year. But Alice was special.

"We learned a lot from her,” Anne said. “We taught her and she taught us."

"No matter what kind of weather it was -- cold, rainy -- here comes Alice,” added Basic Skills Instructor Donna Stelter. “Right on time and she always had her cup of coffee right away. We didn't start anything 'til she had her cup of coffee!"

This spring Alice reached her goal with a passing grade on her final test.

"I felt like celebrating,” she said. “Going shopping. Buying something new."

It was a moment her teachers hope will inspire others.

"Your learning never stops,” Anne said. “And no matter what your age you can still shoot for those goals."

Alive says she’s not done learning yet. She wants to improve her computer skills and take a psychology class.

Alice will participate in the school’s GED graduation ceremony on May 27th.


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