If you need a little extra push to get through your studies, or maybe go take those classes that you’ve always want, try this for inspiration: A 90-year-old Kenyan woman named Priscilla Sitienei is going to class with six of her great-great-grandchildren in order to complete her primary school education.
Sitienei is a midwife in the village of Ndalat, and she joined Leaders Vision Preparatory School five years ago in order to learn how to read and write, skills she never got to learn as a child. She hopes to pass on her knowledge of herbs and natural medicines by writing them down. She’s believed to be the oldest primary school student in the world. She even wears the school uniform. Her classmates call her “Gogo,” which translates from the local language, Kalenjin, as “grandmother.”
“I’d like to be able to read the Bible,” Sitienei told the BBC. “I also want to inspire children to get an education. Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves.”
“They tell me they are too old,” she continued. “I tell them, ‘Well I am at school and so should you. I see children who are lost, children who are without fathers, just going round and round, hopeless. I want to inspire them to go to school.”
The school initially turned her away, but accepted her into the classroom when they understood how dedicated she was to the cause. And now the headmaster, David Kinyanjui, thinks of her as a great example for the rest of the school.
“I’m very proud of her,” he told the BBC. “Gogo has been a blessing to this school, she has been a motivator to all the pupils. She is loved by every pupil, they all want to learn and play with her.”
As for Sitienei, she still works as a midwife, sometimes assisting women to give birth in her dorm room, which she shares with her great-great-grandchild.
“I want to say to the children of the world, especially girls, that education will be your wealth, don’t look back and run to your father,” she said. “With education you can be whatever you want, a doctor, lawyer, or pilot.”