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Grandma, 71, Graduates— as Valedictorian

Jerry Duncan, 71, proves age is just a number
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2014 1:15 PM CDT
Grandma, 71, Graduates— as Valedictorian

"Just because you got a little age on you, don't let it stop you." Those words come from Jerry Duncan, a 71-year-old grandma and now the valedictorian of the 2014 certified nursing assistant program graduating class at Texas' Kilgore College-Longview. Duncan, who worked as an unlicensed nursing assistant for a quarter of a century, went back to school when her former employer released all employees who lacked the proper credentials. "It's pretty bad when you're older than your teacher," she says, but she gave it her all. She didn't just pass, she did so with a 108 grade-point average, USA Today reports.

"She has a heart of gold and wants to take care of everybody," a friend tells the Longview News-Journal. "She actually felt bad about being valedictorian because she said a lot of the kids in the class were going on to be nurses, and she didn't want to take the top spot away from them." But Duncan didn't go through all that hard work to slow down now. "We’re not only a CNA, we wash and dress our patient for the day, while listening about their lifetime in a 40-hour week," she said in her valedictorian speech Wednesday. "Everybody needs some help, even when they’re grown." She hopes to get a job in a nursing home or hospital and says she has no intention of retiring. (More Texas stories.)

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