An exceptional 72- year- old man named Sam Kaplan graduated from the University of Georgia, Georgia after graduating high school over 54 years ago.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Media Arts from Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, University of Georgia.
Sam Kaplan’s 99-year-old mother with all excitement cheered on him from the crowd as he walked across the stage for his graduation ceremony according to NBC affiliate WWBT as he is the first out of his other seven siblings to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Commenting on his mother’s mood, he said she’s excited and proud of his achievement.
She’s very excited,” the new graduate remarked about his mother. “She’s excited, happy and proud.”
Kaplan’s mother last saw him in the academic setting in 1969 when he graduated high school. He is the first of his seven siblings to earn a Bachelor’s degree
Kaplan moved from one career to another in the decades after, he ran a cleaning service and later telemarketing company. He also worked in customer service for an electronic distribution company.
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Kaplan College revealed that the 72- year-old man decided to enrol in college again for the first time after decades when he was 68 years old.
He heard on the radio that Georgia Gwinnett College was offering a degree and before he knew he registered for the fall semester.
“I was riding down 316 and heard on the radio that Georgia Gwinnett College was offering a degree that involved script writing,”.
“My car seemed to have developed automatic steering, and I pulled off on Collins Hill Road. Five minutes later, I was registering for the fall semester”, he added
Despite his old age, getting back into a classroom setting was not an easy journey for him considering the fact that he had to learn how to study again and also fit in with his other classmates who are over 50 years below his age.
To rise above this challenge, the father of five decided to set a daily quota, he would approach new students every day with the intention of learning more about their academic goals and dreams for the future.
“When you ask a student about what they want and plan on doing and find out what they want to do with their lives, I think that’s uncommon with a lot of kids — they don’t get that with people,”
“I think I have a good relationship with them. I got hugs from a lot of them on the last day of classes.” He added
An associate professor of film at Georgia Gwinnett College, Kate Balsley taught Kaplan for some of his classes and she expressed her excitement for his academic achievements.
“Sam was always willing to share photos and stories about his interesting life and his family. We’re so proud to see him graduate, but we will miss him,” Balsley said.
In a video of the ceremony, the applause from Kaplan’s graduating class was the loudest as he receives his diploma with a proud smile.
No doubt Sam Kaplan left a great mark on his college.