Violet Edwards: 96-Year-Old Grandmother Becomes Oldest Black Woman to Graduate College in US

Violet Edwards: 96-Year-Old Grandmother Becomes Oldest Black Woman to Graduate College in US

  • Violet Edwards, 96, is reportedly the fifth-oldest person in the world to receive a degree after graduating from Mercy College in New York
  • Growing up, she was the first in her village to attend school at Happy Grove High School in Jamaica on a full academic scholarship
  • In pursuit of better opportunities, Violet relocated her family to the United States, where she ensured that her daughter graduated from medical school
  • She enrolled at the College of New Rochelle in the early 1980s but reluctantly left school one year shy of obtaining her goal of a bachelor's degree due to financial roadblocks

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Violet Edwards became the fifth oldest person in the world to earn her college degree at the age of 96, and she is also officially the oldest Black woman to graduate from college in the US.

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Violet Edwards has become world's fifth oldest college graduate.
Violet Edwards received her college degree on June 25, 2022, at the age of 96. Photo: Fox 10.
Source: UGC

The grandmother said she wanted to finish her journey toward obtaining her college degree ahead of her 100th birthday, although she kicked things off a few decades ago.

Due to financial setbacks, her road to furthering her education halted. However, she continued to press on and earned her Associate's Degree in liberal arts, Fox 10 reported.

"It’s a sense of satisfaction, I feel good about it," she said in a Zoom interview on Tuesday with FOX 35.

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Violet graduated from Mercy College in New York in June 2022 after attending online classes from her apartment in Parkland, Florida.

Making History

As a woman of many firsts, Edwards stems from Jamaica, where she became the first person in her village to attend high school on a full academic scholarship.

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According to reports, she took her final exams before graduation during World War II and even was fearful that the test would not make it to England, where it was sent over for grading.

Since Edwards did not have the money to continue her education, she decided to pursue a career within the island's postal service.

With a spirit destined for greatness, she became the first appointed female regional inspector before she decided to retire and head to New York in 1973.

Fulfilling Life's Purpose

Once in the states, Edwards' sole mission was to help put her daughter through medical school. This also inspired her to return to school.

Therefore, she decided to enrol in the College of New Rochelle in the early 1990s, where she earned some credits. When Rochelle became Mercy College, her credits transferred.

Another financial setback prevented Edwards from fulfilling her mission. However, she still persevered.

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On top of the lack of financial resources, she soon discovered that the college she had attended was closed once she tried to re-enrol for a second time.

Unfortunately, 84 of her credits were non-transferable, yet she kept going.

Challenges during her study

Growing up, there was no internet, computers, or smartphones as there is today. So, online classes took some additional learning.

"Everything was on pad paper and pencil. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m going along with it," she said, referring to adapting to online classes," she said.

Thankfully, her daughter and son-in-law were there to help keep her connected and troubleshoot any issues.

"It was challenging…but I went through it. I wouldn’t give up," she added.

Overcoming cancer

Last month, she defied the odds to achieve such a feat after being diagnosed with cancer just one year shy of her last year in college.

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On July 5, she underwent surgery and completed her final radiation treatment, Local 10 reported

The community where she lives held a graduation ceremony for Violet in June. Photos show Edwards in her cap and gown, holding her degree.

She even received a proclamation from the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami, Florida, commending her on the achievement.

And she's not done yet. Edwards said she hopes to earn her Bachelor's degree.

Her message for others:

"I would say it’s never too late. Don't just forget that it’s never too late. Look at me how I started again, I restarted…and tried to move along and go towards my goal, and I did."

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In a similar story, Briefly News previously reported that it takes a lot of hard work to obtain a degree, and completing an academic qualification while being a doting mother and working full-time as a cleaner is an absolutely fantastic achievement.

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Mponegele Jane Thole is a single parent who is employed as a domestic worker in Centurion, Gauteng. The mom-of-four is incredibly inspiring and recently obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences and Social Services degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

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Source: TUKO.co.ke

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