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Seventy-year-old College Student Graduates



From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

Many schools across the U.S. hold graduation ceremonies at this time of year. In some schools, even five- and six-year-olds observe their graduation from kindergarten. So can older people...much older. Seventy-year-old Jerry Reid just graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He earned a bachelor's degree.

Mr. Reid might not look like the average college student. His hair is definitely grayer. But, still, Jerry Reid's age is easy to forget. Other UVA students know him as one of their own. Mr. Reid fit right into the "Hoo Crew," a group that cheers for the school at sports events. He also joined a fraternity, a men's group on campus. He sang drinking songs along with many other students.

Mr. Reid's young school friends say they can talk to him about almost anything. About a half-century ago, while in his 20s, Mr. Reid was racing cars and chasing girls. But he says his friend Bill would invite him to UVA parties. He says Bill told him that he needed to go to school or he would never make anything of his life. That was in 1963. Jerry Reid says it took him 48 years to take that advice.

In 2011, he entered college. UVA Professor Luke Wright says Mr. Reid influenced students. Professor Wright says he opened the minds of the young adults. The teacher says Mr. Reid showed them "that life does not end at 40." Instead, the 70-year-old college graduate believes that getting older can be the beginning of a dream. Mr. Reid says he plans to return to UVA for graduate school.