Hawaii woman graduates from college at 94 years old


It’s been said it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

An Oahu woman is doing just that.

Amy Craton arrived at a surprise graduation party in Waikiki. She had no idea she was the guest of honor.

At 94 years young, Craton made history when she completed online studies with Southern New Hampshire University and became one of the world’s oldest college graduates.

“She’s a very big deal and I think she’s an inspiration to everybody,” said SNHU president Paul LeBlanc, who traveled to Hawaii to hand-deliver her diploma.

Her dream of earning a college degree started in 1962, but something called life put everything on hold.

“She found herself a single mom that was going through a divorce, had kids to take care and raise, so went back to work full-time,” LeBlanc explained.

The Massachusetts native moved to Hawaii in 1969 and for the next five decades, she raised her family.

Then in 2013, she decided it was time to finish what she had started and began taking online classes. In November, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and English with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

She shared a poem she had written: “This quiet island, skies pure and clear – peacefully changing cycles through the year.”

Craton’s four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren joined the celebration via Skype, and fellow students sent a video message from New Hampshire.

“It’s a testimony to perseverance and grit and just stick with it kind of commitment,” LeBlanc said.

Craton is now pursuing her master’s degree and will graduate in the fall of 2019. She dreams of writing a children’s book.

“Once you get into that feeling of wanting to learn, I want to know more, then you start looking around where you can expand yourself,” she said. “Don’t let your life end by sitting in a chair or laying in your bed.”

Even at 94, dreams do come true.

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