Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Graduate at 69: I Did It for Me

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Graduate at 69: I Did It for Me

Article excerpt

It's never too late to get an education. Just ask Green Cove

Springs resident Lois Moody. At 69, Moody is the oldest graduate

of Victory Christian Academy.

"I did it for me," Moody said when asked why she decided to hit

the books again after all these years.

"I didn't do it because I wanted a new job or anything. I did

it for my own sense of accomplishment."

Circumstances forced Moody to drop out of school during her

sophomore year at Lee High School in 1946. More than 50 years

later, while working as a volunteer at Victory Christian

Academy, she was inspired to pick up where she left off.

"I thought it was the greatest idea," said Brenda Surrency,

principal of the school, and a longtime friend of Moody.

"I knew that with her ambition, she would make it. She's the

type of lady that when she sets out to accomplish something, she

does it."

It took Moody seven months of studying to earn the remaining

credits required for graduation. She said there were plenty of

times when she was ready to give up, but encouragement from family,

friends and teachers, along with daily prayer, kept her going.

Moody's efforts paid off Friday night during the graduation

ceremony when she received the diploma that eluded her nearly a

half a century ago.

"The other students know her and they're really proud that she

marched with them on graduation night," Surrency said.

"She has motivated them to go even higher. They were excited

that a lady of her age could be motivated enough to accomplish

this and it made them try harder to reach a higher academic

level."

Moody's family and friends are just as proud of her, as well.

Nearly 60 well-wishers surprised her with a birthday/graduation

party recently at the Best Western of Orange Park.

"I was expecting a party, but I wasn't expecting to see so many

people," Moody said. "Some of these people are friends I haven't

seen in years."

Moody received another surprise that night -- a shiny red 1994

Buick Park Avenue. Her husband, Forrest, bought the car as a

congratulatory gift. …

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