Wednesday, May 21, 2008

World's Oldest College Graduate



Today's posting continues a series on lessons I use to keep the idea for learning alive with the boys aged 6-9 that I find myself tutoring this school year. For those of you with kids, you know how hard it is to control the short attention spans kids have at that age, especially boys. So, I've come up with little lessons that keep them interested and anxious to learn. Here's one about the current title holder of the world's oldest college graduate:

Nola Ochs holds the world record as the oldest person to ever graduate from college at the age of 95. According to Guinness Book of Records when she graduated on May 27, 2007 she bet the previous record held by Mozelle Richardson, who received her journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2004 when she was 90.

Nola Ochs is a 5ft. 3in. tall great-grandmother who was born in 1912, and grew up on a farm in Kansas. She says she always loved learning. After high school, she became a teacher at a one-room schoolhouse, before leaving the profession to be a wife and mother on her own farm. She had four sons, and now has 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She told reporters, "They’re all such fine boys. Our main crop is our children, and the farm is a good place to raise them."

Ochs lived through World War I, the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, World War II and shared a farm with her husband and through it all she says she longed to study and learn about the world around her.

She first began taking courses at a local community college in 1972, when her husband Vernon died. She kept taking a class here and a class there, and her credits started to add up. When she had almost enough to complete a degree, she moved to the campus of Fort Hays State in Kansas. She wanted to study there because her 21 year-old granddaughter Alexandra studied there also. Both of them graduated last year together.

When Ochs was asked what kind of job she wanted now that she had a degree she said she wanted to find one working on a cruise ship as a story-teller. She wants to make history come alive with stories like ones of growing soybeans during World War II on a farm she shared with her husband or living through the Dust Bowl, when families had to light lamps during daylight hours because it was so dark from the dust storms. Find out more about current title holders in the strangest categories at: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.com/

Now, here's one of my "cap and gown" poems:



Ways To Become A Visionary Butterfly


No one knows exactly how it came to be this way. I suppose
irony can often be the richest dessert. On the other hand,
wallpaper has never been my obsession. And like any
artist, I crave solitude, as long as no earthquakes
or wars intercede by sundown. Anyway, I
credit my short attention-span on living
in L.A. where even a typhoon would
be forgotten the next day. I also
think it’s because of too many
people wearing too many
tattoos. It could be
because the
angel’s feet are on
fire or simply because
of the bed of hot coals cleverly
disguised in a voluptuous body. All I
know is that most wheat fields were once
drive-in movies and that the Pillsbury dough
boy has a thing for shepherds. What ever happens to
be left-over is an accordion-playing lesbian? O yeah, and the
black hairnet might even tangle in the tree.

Poem first published at: http://webdelsol.com/The_Potomac
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

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