In his graduating gown and academic hat, Horace Sheffield took a snapshot with a placard that read “With God all things are possible”.
At 88 he has just attained the degree that he did not obtain in his youth. 60 years later he went back to school to fulfill an abandoned dream.
Horace Sheffield is from Barnesville, Georgia. He quit school in the 1960’s to attend and provide for his daughters. Obtaining the degree was neither a necessity nor a priority back then.
“I dropped out with 115 hours. At that time a piece of paper on a wall didn’t mean that much to me. I had my education and my brain and my heart, and I put them all to good use. But 60 years later I wanted that degree.”
The 88-year-old man traded his education for his daughters’. Sheffield was a student at Shorter University before he dropped out.
As a retired civil servant, Horace wanted to go back to school and complete his degree. However his pension would not be sufficient to see him through school.
Fatefully, he saw an article that senior citizens like himself can go to college without tuition fees, he was delighted.
“I’m retired and living on fixed income, and I did not think I could go to college and pay tuition. But when I saw this article that senior citizens could go to college for free, Shorter accepted me at no tuition.
The elderly scholar-thirsty man said he only had to pay $200 graduation fee.
Walking across the stage to receive his diploma, Horace was accompanied by his tutor, Amanda Brannock. Horace received a standing ovation as he proceeded to the stage.
The old man never fails to thank Amanda for her role in his academic accomplishment.
“She wrote out my assignments and told me what to do and she expected me to do it,”
“She expected me to make straight As and I did it. I wrote two papers a week and then had the test… Without her I would not have this diploma today.”
Horace obtained his Bachelor of Science through online courses. He would write his weekly papers and test in long-hand. Then Amanda’s job would be to translate it and submit them online. He studied Christian Studies.
She would take her own computer and printer to his house for him to use for classwork.
Brannock and Sheffield were acquaintances from church. Both share a similar academic moment in the past. Amanda who has no degree yet, left school at some point because of financial constraints.
Calling him “a sweetheart”, the nice woman said it was her pleasure to help him see his dream come true. Tutoring Horace took as long as 2 years and Amanda was devoted all through it.
“He’s inspired me to keep going and I hope I inspired him to keep going.”
Horace Sheffield hopes to return the favor by walking across the stage someday to get her degree.
“He’s insisting that he walk across the stage with me when I get to graduate.”