A 99-year-old Agua Dulce woman earned cheers and tears on Friday when she celebrated graduating from College of the Canyons before turning a century old.
Doreetha Daniels has been studying at the community college in Santa Clarita since 2009, determined to earn her degree.
“99, here I am,” she said at the podium, garnering cheers from the audience Friday.
“I accomplished what I wanted to do, and this is my dream come true,” she said after the ceremony.
Her grandchildren, who were working on masters’ degrees, inspired her, Daniels said.
Her son said she persevered through her education despite suffering a couple of strokes and losing her driver’s license.
Relatives shed tears of pride after the graduation ceremony where Daniels was awarded an associate’s degree in social sciences.
College officials said Daniels struggled sometimes — especially with computer literacy — at a campus where most students are 18 to 24 years old.
But she just worked harder, according to the college. Twice a week before class, she studied, did her homework and worked with tutors at the college’s tutoring center.
She was touted as “one of the most dedicated and hardworking students” in the statistics class, the college said in a news release.
“Doreetha is resilient. She demonstrates grit,” said counselor Liz Shaker. “She inspires students.”
Asked for advice to younger generations, Daniels said: “Don’t give up. Do it. Don’t let anybody discourage you. Say that, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and do it for yourself.”