‘Busy life’ kept her from education goal
OAKLAND, Calif. – It’s never too late to earn your college degree. Just ask 94-year-old Hazel Soares.
The San Leandro, Calif., woman was one of about 500 students to pick up diplomas Saturday during a commencement ceremony at Mills College, a women’s school in Oakland.
“It’s taken me quite a long time because I’ve had a busy life,” Soares said.
Soares, who has six children and more than 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person to graduate from college.
Born in Richmond, Calif., in 1915, Soares had wanted to attend college right after she graduated from Roosevelt High School in Oakland in 1932, but that was during the Great Depression.
“Unless you had some help, it would have been impossible to go to college,” Soares said. “However I never lost the desire to go.”
Soares married twice, raised six kids and worked as a nurse and event organizer before she retired and decided to return to pursue her dream of obtaining a college education.
“We are really amazed and very proud of my mom,” said Regina Hungerford, Soares’ youngest child.
Soares doesn’t plan to relax now that she finally has her degree. The art history major hopes to work as a docent at a San Francisco Bay Area museum.
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