Woman, 89, gets associate's degree

Dec. 19, 2010 at 3:35 PM
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PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A Florida woman is preparing to receive her degree from Palm Beach State College with a 3.96 grade-point average -- at the age of 89, school officials said.

Catherine Photos is set to don her cap and gown Monday to be handed the Associate in Arts degree she's started working on in 2001, six years after her husband of almost 50 years died, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.

"I felt why am I sitting home doing nothing," she said. "You just don't know how content I am that I went to college."

"She's tough," her daughter Ilene, in town from Washington for the ceremony, said. "When my mother puts her mind to something, she does it."

Photos said she never gave up on the dream of a college degree, but marriage in 1946, running a private swim club in Pennsylvania, operating a bar and grill in Detroit, owning four McDonald's restaurants in Maine and raising three children all kept her too busy, the newspaper said.

The skills learned in her long working life prepared her for eventual college career, she said.

"I helped run businesses. I worked with people. I solved problems. That gave me the tools I needed."

Photos says she isn't finished yet and will transfer to Florida Atlantic University next month to begin work on a bachelor's degree in English.

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