The senior learner wanted to be able to study the Bible unassisted

A woman who went back to school in her 60s has graduated from primary school at the age of 70.

María Luisa Paredes Durán from Muna, Yucatán, was motivated to join the program for older learners so that she could learn to read and study the Bible without help from others.

State Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal surprised Paredes by being present to award her certificate at the offices of the state’s adult education institute, which runs the program.

Paredes joined 29 other older learners on the three-year program in 2018 in which they studied reading, writing and basic mathematics. She found out about the opportunity thanks to a local teacher, who was a loyal customer where she sold tamales and other dishes.

The great-grandmother of 10 said she was born into a culture where education wasn’t seen as a priority. “I never believed that I could finish primary school, because when I was a child my mother and grandmother taught me to dedicate myself to housework. I was inspired to enter school because I wanted to be able to read the Bible alone,” she said.

She added that she appreciated being able to help younger family members with their homework, and was delighted to meet the governor. “I feel very proud of this achievement that brings joy to my family. Before, my grandchildren or my son helped me to read the Bible, but now I can engage with their homework and I understand it. It is a great opportunity that they offer to old people like me. In my 70 years I have never had the fortune of meeting a governor in person and I’m really grateful for his support,” she said.

Governor Vila offered his congratulations to the new graduate. “It is a great achievement, and that is why I came to give you your certificate and tell you that we are very proud of you, because we know that it is not easy,” he told her. 

Paredes also offered words of motivation for other people her age. “It is never too late to learn and going to this school has changed my life. Now, activities like reading, running errands and other things have become much easier,” she said.

With reports from Televisa and Milenio

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