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80-Year-Old Houston Grandmother Achieves Lifelong Dream of Earning College Degree: ‘If Grandma Can Do It, You Can Do It’

A Houston grandmother is now hotter by one degree after achieving her lifelong dream of graduating college.

Beatrice Lillie, 80, earned her associate’s degree in business management from Houston Community College’s Business Center of Excellence, KHOU 11 reported. The seasoned scholar walked the stage at NRG Stadium last week as friends, family and classmates cheered her on from their seats.

Beatrice Lillie

Beatrice Lillie, 80, said she hopes to serve as an inspiration to her children and grandchildren. (KHOU 11 / video screenshot)

“I would not have believed it, I don’t think, although we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us,” Lillie told the station.

After four years of studying hard and keeping her head in the books, Lillie successfully completed the requirements for her degree. She said it was the encouragement from her younger classmates that kept her motivated. They continued cheering each other on, all the way up until graduation day.

“The young ladies were saying, ‘I know I can do it, if you can do it,’” she recalled.

Though this is Lillie’s first post-secondary degree, the Houston native has plenty of business experience under her belt.

According to ABC 13, Lillie owned her own answering service before the era of voicemails and cellphones. She was also employed as a secretary in the Harris County Probation Department and now spends time volunteering at the Northeast Houston Multi-Service Center.

Pastor Maceo Dillard Jr., who works with seniors at the center, encouraged Lillie to go back to school, as did other friends of hers.

“I said ‘Go for it. You can’t win if you never try,’” Dillard told KHOU 11. “It’s important for people to keep going and engaging their minds, instead of just sitting back.”

Lillie said she returned to school not only to further her education, but to serve as an example to her children and grandchildren.

“If Grandma can do it, [they] can do it,” she told the station.

Armed with a degree, Lillie said she has a new appreciation for the arts and knows her way around a computer. She has no plans of switching up her career path, however, and said she will continue volunteering at the center.

Watch more in the video below.

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