How These 90 Year Old “Seniors” Recently Graduated

Updated 8/11/15 2:12pm | Alert1 wants to introduce you to a few “senior” upperclassmen that recently received their diplomas. These seniors show us that pursuit of higher education isn’t strictly categorized for adolescents and twenty-something’s. In fact, Jessie Rose White waited 75 years to receive her college diploma, and an 89 year old veteran has officially graduated high school. This year we have two very special graduates, at ages 89 and 99, who prove you’re never too old to keep learning and achieving.

Their stories of finally graduating from high-school and college inspire us all, and show us that you never know where the twists and turns of life will take you! If you know a studious senior looking to get back in the classroom, advise them to meet with an Alert1 counselor and sign up for fall detection today! You’re never too late to register, and our emergency monitoring can protect seniors in the classroom or on the go

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Earning his high school diploma at 89

In 1941, J.R. Blocker was a 16 year old high school student in Bamberg, South Carolina. He was walking down the street with his cousins on a Sunday morning in December when he heard the news: the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. He felt compelled to act, and on Jan 2, 1942 Blocker joined the US Navy. As a high school student he needed permission to enlist – Blocker’s father signed the consent form.

The war came to an end on September 2, 1945, but Blocker continued to serve in the Navy until February 4, 1947 when he came home to work in his family’s grocery store. While at home, Blocker continued his education by taking courses specifically available to military veterans. After some time at home, Blocker went back to the military for four years before coming home for good to be a father and continue running his store.

While Blocker never officially finished high school, in 2000 the South Carolina General passed a law that allowed high school diplomas to be issued to South Carolinians who missed out on finishing school to fight in World War I. Blocker’s children worked with the Bamberg School District to get one of those coveted diplomas for their father.

On June 21, Blocker’s wife Elneta took Blocker out for dinner. Blocker was surprised to see Phyllis Schwarting, school district Superintendent, sitting next to his family. It was then that he learned that he had received his diploma at the age of 89. Blocker, surprised and honored, joked that he was valedictorian of his class. Blocker’s life lessons now that’s he’s graduated? “Life is hard; tough it out,” “go to church,” and “stick with it.”

JR blocker grad. alert1 medical alert systems

Graduating college at 99

On May 26, 2014, Jessie Rose White of Belfast Maine received her college degree. She majored in stenography and bookkeeping at Beal College 75 years ago in 1939. But she never got her diploma. Why? An unpaid $5 fee.

Jessie put herself through school with $500 grant from her uncle, but she used up the money in finishing her required courses. She could not afford the $5 diploma fee. Jessie’s friend Dona learned that Jessie had never officially graduated, and decided that that would just not do after Jessie worked so hard to put herself through school. Beal College President Allen Stehle loved the idea of finally giving Jessie her diploma and paid the fee himself.

Not too long after, Jessie attended a special graduation ceremony just for her, where she finally received the diploma she worked so hard for.  Along with the diploma, Stehle gave Jessie a receipt showing that the diploma was paid for. Jessie enjoyed the gesture, and commented that he had a great sense of humor.

She might have her college diploma, but Jessie is not done with her education. She has always loved learning and is no stranger to using the Internet to find new information. Jessie says, “I’ve always had a great thirst for learning, and I try to learn something new every day. I’d love to go back to college now if I had the strength.”

Jessie said that she was delighted with her graduation ceremony and diploma and remarked, “I’m glad I had to wait 75 years, because it was more fun than it would have been in the first place.” Jessie certainly deserved the diploma she worked so hard for. She is proof that you can always keep learning!

Jessie W grad. alert1 medical alert systems

Protecting you 24/7

Alert1 applauds Jessie and Blocker. We love to see seniors getting recognition for their accomplishments!  They deserve it after all of their hard work.

Alert1 wants you to keep learning and enjoying life every day.  However, we know that in spite of our best efforts our bodies sometimes let us down. A medical alert system for seniors will be there as your safety net in the event of the unthinkable. Why spend time worrying about the ‘what-ifs’ when you could be out there enjoying yourself? All you need to do is press the alarm button if you need help, and we will take care of getting help to you quickly and easily. No more worrying about falling down and not being able to get help. With your fall detection alert system by your side you can explore the world and keep on learning!

Be inspired by Blocker and Jesse and don’t be afraid to finish what you’ve started – even if it was many years ago. You are never too old to keep learning. Plus, there is so much out there left to explore!