Age is Just a Number: Man Aged 72 Graduates with 99-Year-Old Mom in Attendance

In a truly heartwarming story that tugs at the heartstrings, a 72-year-old man named Sam Kaplan made his lifelong dream come true by graduating from college with his 99-year-old mother cheering him on from the crowd. This inspirational tale offers a timeless reminder that it's never too late to pursue your dreams.

Sam Kaplan, a resident of Lawrenceville, Georgia, had an unconventional journey to higher education. Over fifty years ago, he graduated from high school and embarked on a varied career that saw him running a cleaning service, leading a telemarketing company, and even driving a taxi. Despite the fulfilling work he found in these roles, he had a dormant desire that remained unfulfilled – the yearning for a college degree.

The turning point arrived in Kaplan's life when he was 68 years old. As he was driving down the highway, a radio announcement about a degree program in scriptwriting at Georgia Gwinnett College caught his ear. The radio might as well have been speaking directly to him. Being an author of two books and having an interest in scriptwriting, Kaplan saw this as the perfect opportunity to further his skills and make his stories come alive in the form of screenplays.

Driven by his passion, Kaplan's car seemingly steered itself towards the college. Within minutes, he was registering for the fall semester, marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter in his life.

Kaplan soon found himself in a completely different world, sharing classrooms with students almost 50 years younger than him. This new environment presented its challenges. He had to relearn how to study and adapt to the modern academic setting. But Kaplan didn’t just adapt; he thrived.

Credit: Georgia Gwinett College

He stated, "It was exciting, nervous, but it was a challenge. Learning how to study again and interacting with the students was a lot of fun. I'm very excited, and I feel proud of myself for doing this"​.

Despite the age gap, Kaplan formed meaningful relationships with his peers. Every day, he would approach a new student with the intention of learning more about their academic goals and dreams for the future. This unique perspective, coupled with his wisdom and genuine interest in their lives, won him many friends.

The climax of this transformative journey arrived on May 11, when Kaplan became the first among his seven siblings to earn a degree. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia Gwinnett College with a degree in Cinema and Media Arts. And the best part? His 99-year-old mother was in the audience to witness this momentous occasion.

The image of Kaplan receiving his diploma as his nonagenarian mother watched with pride encapsulates the essence of his inspiring journey - a testament to the power of perseverance, lifelong learning, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.

Sam Kaplan's story is an inspiration not just to moms, but to all of us. It reminds us that age is just a number, and it's never too late to chase our dreams. His tale serves as a beacon of motivation for everyone, particularly mothers, as they inspire their children to value education and relentlessly pursue their passions, no matter the age.

As we celebrate Sam Kaplan's achievement, let's also remember the role his mother played, cheering him on every step of the way. Because behind every great achievement, there's often a mom who believed in her child's dreams, and never stopped encouraging them to reach for the stars.

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