Learning Gets Better with Age Awards
About the Award
More than a half-a-million Americans earn their high school equivalency diploma each year, but fewer than 20,000 (less than 3%) are 55 years or older. Unfortunately, these brave, hard-working students are rarely acknowledged for their accomplishment. That is why SSAI launched the Learning Gets Better with Age Award.
The Learning Gets Better with Age Award honors older adults for their achievement in lifelong learning, including those individuals who are past or current participants in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). We hope these inspirational stories will encourage other, older Americans to prepare for and earn their high school equivalency diploma/certificate.
The Learning Gets Better with Age Award is awarded to three (3) to adults each year who were at least 55 years old when they earned a high school equivalency diploma/certificate. Each selected award recipient receives $1,000 in addition to an award letter and recognition on our website and social media channels.
2019 Award Winners
When two of her 13 grandchildren were set to graduate from high school, Shelia set a goal for herself: to finally get her GED. If she could do it at her age, she knew it would inspire her grandchildren to never give up on their dreams. Two and a half years later, at age 56, Shelia achieved her goal and then some: Selected valedictorian of her class, she was one of the graduation speakers. Her three sons and all 13 grandchildren were there to celebrate with her.
As she crossed the stage to receive her high school diploma, Sheri beamed with pride to hear her friends and family clapping for her. As a member of the 2019 Wind River High School graduating class at age 56, Sheri deserved to be proud. The long journey had been marked with starts and stops and more than one obstacle along the way. Read more about Sheri’s inspirational journey of lifelong learning.
Mildred, with four children to raise alone, drove a school bus and worked for 28 years at the Jersey City Medical Center dietary unit, preparing food and checking in with patients. Then, when she enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at Easter Seals a few years ago, her interviewer asked, “What would you really like to do?” Mildred didn’t hesitate: “Get my GED.”
Mildred successfully earned her GED at age 73! Now she counsels other people her age and younger on getting an education and finding employment: It’s hard, but we can do it. Have faith!
It is never too late to be who you might have been.George Eliot