94-year-old Hazel Soares proves that it’s never too late to achieve your goals. This Saturday Hazel graduated from Mills College, along with 500 other students—most of them 70 years younger than her. Hazel has 6 children of her own, as well as over 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren and is believed to be the second oldest person to ever graduate from college.
Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1915 Hazel wanted to attend college immediately after completing high school in 1932. However, that was during the Great Depression and according to Hazel “unless you had some help, it was impossible to go to college”. Soares married twice and raised her six children while also working as a nurse before returning to college.
At Saturday’s commencement ceremony, Hazel was greeted and congratulated by Nancy Pelosi, who delivered the keynote speech. Her classmates also cheered her during the ceremony. Hazel plans on using her degree, too—she will use her Art History expertise to obtain a job as a docent at a San Francisco Bay art museum. Overall, Hazel hopes that others will find inspiration from her experience:
“There’s no reason why you could not go back. Some people do give up the idea or postpone the idea. It’s too late. It’s too much work. They may not realize that once you try it it’s exciting to go to school.”