Not every graduate gets a standing ovation upon receiving her diploma, but after 14 years of taking classes at John A. Logan College, and 66 years since she first starting her college career, 85-year-old Eloise Schleck is more than deserving.

The Illinois native earned her associate degree in general studies at John A. Logan's commencement ceremony last Friday, The Southern Illinoisan reports. The beginning of Schleck's college career stretches back to 1950. She enrolled in Blue Mountain College in northeastern Mississippi around the age of 20, and left shortly after to raise a family.

After decades of caring for four children and working nights at a local packaging company, Schleck met the person who would inspire her to return to academics. Christy McBride was an employee at John A. Logan College when the two first met in the late '90s. She convinced Schleck to start taking classes in 2002, and McBride has served as her adviser throughout the entire journey.

Schleck has been steadily pursuing her goal ever since, taking one or two classes a year. "If she didn’t succeed the first time, she would say, 'I'll just take [the class] again,'" McBride told The Southern Illinoisan. "Her perseverance has been an inspiration to me, as well as others at the college."

After racking up enough credits to earn her associate degree this year, she agreed to walk alongside her graduating peers at commencement last week. Schleck isn't the oldest student to earn a diploma (from college or high school), and according to her this doesn't mark the end of her education. The new graduate's next goal is to earn her bachelor's degree from Blue Mountain College—where her higher education first began—by taking classes online.

[h/t The Southern Illinoisan]

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