89-year-old mother, grandma and great-grandma bags first university degree (photos)

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Ella proudly walked across the graduation stage on Saturday, May 26, to receive her associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University. She was born in rural North Carolina. As reported by CBS Newsreports, in order to help with her family’s farm, Washington dropped out of school in the sixth grade. After getting married, she moved to Washington D.C.

Her plans for the future is to pursue her bachelor’s degree in history from the same university in Virginia. She enrolled in Liberty’s online program back in 2012. It took her six years to complete her degree. Washington said: “Education will help you make the best life for yourselves and those who come after you.”

Ellen Mitchell, her daughter gave testament to her mother’s passion about learning. “Her desire for learning and for pursuing an education became a family tradition,” Mitchell says in a statement. She added that: “She taught all of her children how to read, write, and do math prior to their beginning school, just as her grandmother taught her and her siblings.”

In order to provide for her 12 children, Ella worked a variety of jobs which included been a custodian at the Pentagon to an office assistant to a certified nursing assistant at an adult daycare.

In 1978, at the age of 49, Washington enrolled in an adult education program to obtain her GED diploma. Never giving up, she is on her way to getting her Bachelor’s degree. “My mother is a remarkable woman,” Mitchell said to CBS News. “I learned how to be strong because of her example. Now, she has set the bar for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

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