It was a day this AOLCC graduate dreamed of for so long… At age 61, Donna from Belleville, Ontario finally completed her Grade 12/High School diploma.

As a single parent, Donna dropped out of high school. She attempted to complete her Grade 12 again years later, but felt out of place because of her age. She was older than the other students and never felt comfortable enough to stick it through. After jumping around from job to job, Donna eventually found stability at Sears. Over the course of 26 years, this determined woman worked her way to a lead position. Donna had hoped to retire there, but unfortunately the company went out of business.

Donna knew she needed more skills, especially computer skills, to help her get back into the workforce. However, she was anxious about going back to school because she didn’t want to feel uncomfortable again. That all changed when she found Academy of Learning Career College .

61 Year-Old Finishes Grade 12, Graduates Same Year As Granddaughter

“Here, when I come through this school, it’s such a great feeling. It’s so relaxed and people are great here. The two facilitators, Kristie and Judy, are awesome. They are always encouraging you and if you have problems you want to talk about—it doesn’t have to be about school—they are more than happy to listen to you and help you through it. They’re very supportive people, that’s for sure.”

Coincidentally, Donna’s granddaughter, 18, also graduated High School the same year.

“My one granddaughter is 18 and she just finished high school. We both graduated the same year. They all [speaking about her family] came to my graduation. And my son was very proud because he felt bad that I couldn’t finish this before. It makes me feel good that I’ve succeeded in something that I’ve tried hard and worked hard for.”

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When asked what the most challenging part of going back to school was, Donna says:

“Trying to teach this old dog new tricks! It’s been a long time. My lack of confidence is a hard thing for me to get past. Kristie has always been trying to build my confidence – I needed that desperately.”

What’s next in store for Donna? The new graduate loves animals and hopes it becomes part of her future career. Her advice to those considering going back to school:

“It’s never too late to go for it! There is a lot of help out there. The government helps you, and the people here are just awesome. Doing it will give you the confidence you need to get out there and to get looking again. Above all, it’s never too late. I’m 61 years old—If I can do it, anyone can do it!

Thanks for the inspiration, Donna!

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