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89-year-old woman graduates college — and is now pursuing another degree

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/27/2018 Ashley May
Ella Washington, 89-year-old North Carolina woman graduated with Liberty University's class of 2018. © Liberty University News Service Ella Washington, 89-year-old North Carolina woman graduated with Liberty University's class of 2018.

An 89-year-old woman who is also a new college graduate isn’t stopping there – she’s already working towards a bachelor’s degree.

Ella Washington, who graduated Saturday with an associate degree in interdisciplinary studies, is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history at Liberty University in Virginia, according to the college.

Washington enrolled in Liberty’s online program in 2012, following a suggestion from one of her 12 children.

“She has always been a lifelong learner,” Washington’s daughter, Ellen Mitchell, said in a statement. "Her desire for learning and for pursuing an education became a family tradition. She taught all of her children how to read, write, and do math prior to their beginning school, just as her grandmother taught her and her siblings.”

As for her drive to learn more about history, Washington said “everybody should know their history and learn more about it … There’s nothing wrong with learning more.”

More: Single mom of five who is graduating law school with epic photos: I didn't do this myself

More: America's top online bachelor's and graduate programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report

During her 89 years on earth, Washington has worked a variety of jobs to support her children, ranging from a custodian at the Pentagon to an office assistant to a certified nursing assistant at an adult daycare. She only stopped working about six years ago, according to a press release.

“Coming to D.C., there weren’t many opportunities for a poorly educated black woman,” Mitchell said. “But she worked hard doing whatever she could to make sure we were taken care of.”

The oldest graduate in Liberty's Class of 2018 had this to say about her drive to learn: "Education will help you make the best life for yourselves and those who come after you."

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