78-Year-Old Goes To College

By: Dontaye Carter Email
By: Dontaye Carter Email

"My mother always said give me a book and a pencil and I'll be alright."

Age is just a number for 78-year-old Frances Jackson.

After she retired from driving school buses in December 2009, the mother of 3, grandmother of 7 and great grandmother of 6 more decided she was going back to school.

"I'm excited, going in the classroom with a lot of children. You know the younger ones I say and I'll be taking practical nurse," said Jackson.

But Jackson says her road to getting enrolled at Wiregrass Technical College wasn't easy.

She had to take a few prep classes to get caught back up with everything.

"Those nouns and pronouns and verbs and adjectives. Boy they're something else," said the student. "Those compounds. But anyway I made it."

Jackson will be the oldest student to attend the college. She'll start on April Fourth, two days after her birthday.

The average age of a student at Wiregrass is 26. Jackson will be 79 when she starts. But her teacher Rhena Wienert says her effort is a recipe for success.

"There's a lot of kids that give up, that don't want to try anymore, that think they're stuck where they are in life and if they can see Ms. Jackson and what she's accomplished at her age," said Wienert. "Then I think they would be inspired to keep trying."

It's a lesson Wienert says- despite our ages- we all can learn from.

Jackson graduated from Cook County High School in 1951.

She says once she gets her degree she can't wait to start working as a nurse.


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  • by OpenMind Location: Tallahassee on Mar 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM
    "Taxpayer funded education?": This lady earned every penny she gets in retirement and social security because she paid into it. Now I've been out of college for a few years now, but the last I remember, pell grants and federal education dollars are given out based on financial need not age!
  • by knowledgeispower Location: tally on Mar 24, 2011 at 08:20 AM
    Taxpayer funded education?.....really, you are worried about that? You should be worrying about prisoners getting an education off of our dime, not decent citizens and if she is rightfully so....she has paid into social security and worked for her retirement! Please!! Congrats lady! :-)
  • by roy Location: Tallahassee on Mar 24, 2011 at 07:53 AM
    I totally agree with "Taxpayer funded education" Seems to be the only person with any common since.
  • by Taxpayer funded education? Location: Florida on Mar 24, 2011 at 05:46 AM
    Is this lady drawing full retirement benefits from public school board if she worked for public school? Is so, the taxpayers have invested enough her with a state county funded job, pension and her drawing social security benefits. This article does not say if she is paying her own way of of pocket or 100% or a portion is taxpayer state gov. funded. If taxpayer funded through Pell grant, or any other free gov. education funding, this is wrong. More young students out of high school deserve this free money for education. I hear Georgia is struggling with their funding with higher education just like Florida. Give education funding from taxpayers to the young. They will suffer the most for years to come in our broke economic climate.
  • by ZUMI on Mar 23, 2011 at 07:31 PM
    YOU GO GIRL!!! INSPIRATION for us ALL! (just don't try to come down to Florida....)
  • by grad Location: tally on Mar 23, 2011 at 05:57 PM
    Its been 60 years.. unless she graduated from high school when she was 28.. Nonetheless, I think it is awesome!
  • by unmployed Location: ga on Mar 23, 2011 at 05:54 PM
    why not there are no jobs.
  • by TallyTrashTalks2 Location: Tallahassee on Mar 23, 2011 at 03:35 PM
    Go for it!! Nobody is ever too old to learn or give up on a life long dream.
  • by TALLYGIRL68 on Mar 23, 2011 at 03:19 PM
    well I thought being 42 was to old but I guess not, way to go you will be an inspiration to us all. That thinks we are to old to go back.
  • by TIR on Mar 23, 2011 at 03:15 PM
    I am sure you will do great....ENJOY YOURSELF!
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