Sam Kaplan is now the first of his seven siblings to get his bachelor’s degree, Today reported Monday. He worked extremely hard to achieve the diploma for studies in Cinema and Media Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville.
However, the day was even more special because his 99-year-old mother was in the audience during the ceremony, overcome with joy.
“She’s excited, happy, and proud,” he commented.
Atlanta News First shared a photo of him holding his mother’s hand at the event:
Kaplan graduated from high school in 1969. In the years since, he has run a cleaning service, a telemarketing company, and also worked as a taxi driver and in customer service.
When he was 68, he learned from a radio advertisement the college was offering a degree that involved scriptwriting.
“Five minutes later, I was registering for the fall semester,” Kaplan recalled.
The journey was not easy as he had to learn how to study again, but Kaplan also made time to get to know his fellow students on a deeper level.
“When you ask a student about what they want and plan on doing and find out what they want to do with their lives, I think that’s uncommon with a lot of kids — they don’t get that with people,” he said, adding that on the final day of classes, many of them hugged him.
“If you work hard, you can do it… this is a great foundation, and you can do whatever you want,” he stated.
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