In the United States, a 101-year-old man who was never able to finish his studies, obtained his university degree thanks to the mobilization of his family. A very moving moment for the centenary.
Merrill Pittman Cooper is an American student like no other, since he is 101 years old . After waiting more than 80 years, he finally graduated from high school.
When he was young, Merrill Pittman Cooper went to Storer College in Harpers Ferry, USA. This institution was established in 1865 to help newly freed former slaves after the Civil War gain access to education. At the time, it was one of the only schools accessible to black residents, and nearly 7,000 young people studied there before it closed in the 1950s.
For four years, Merrill Pittman Cooper studied Latin, biology, history, English and mathematics. Unfortunately, he was never able to finish his studies and was forced to drop out of his final year. Her mother, who worked as a housekeeper, did not earn enough money to pay her school fees. As she was in financial difficulties, Merrill pushed her to move to Philadelphia, where they had family.
“She worked so hard and everything became so difficult that I decided it was best to drop out of school ,” he said.
He graduated at 101
After moving, Merrill Pittman Cooper was employed as a streetcar operator in Philadelphia. In 2018, the now 100-year-old visited his old school and told his family he regretted never being able to finish his studies to graduate.
“As time went by I thought it was probably too late, so I put it behind me and made the best of the situation. I got so involved in work and life that my dreams were shattered ,” he claimed.
To support him, Merrill’s family decided to organize a graduation ceremony for him, so that the centenarian could finally realize his dream 84 years later.
“Jefferson County Schools is committed to helping every student, young and old. For Mr. Cooper, that meant graduating from high school. We are honored to help make this dream a reality ,” said Bondy Shay Gibson-Learn, superintendent of the school system.
Very touched, Merrill Pittman Cooper was on the verge of tears in front of this surprise. Very happy to have finally graduated, he thanked his whole family.