78-year-old woman overcomes obstacles, receives high school diploma

Posted at 4:41 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 04:17:28-04

TULSA -- One Green Country woman is proving that age is not a factor when it comes to following your dreams.

On Wednesday night, 78-year-old Maria Olga Castro will walk across the stage as a high school graduate during Catholic Charities of Tulsa's first ever commencement ceremony.

Castro said on this day she feels like royalty. Her white attire gleams under the ceremony lights.

Preparations are underway as high school graduates anticipate a magical night, but this is no ordinary ceremony.

“I used to have these nightmares that I was amongst children and I was the only adult in a classroom,” Castro said.

Wednesday’s ceremony represents every obstacle Castro has overcome. Originally from Mexico, she gave up her education at an early age.

“I was making sure my kids got an education so I put mine aside,” Castro said.

When her husband's job ended in Mexico, her family found new opportunity in America, determined to live their best life. As time would have it, the years flew by, but Castro’s dream of getting an education never left her mind.

“But in my heart was always that desire,” Castro said.

At the age of 74, she turned to Catholic Charities to get her diploma. She studied hard, determined to get her GED, but test anxiety got in the way.

“I took the test, didn't pass.,” Castro said. “I took it again, didn't pass. Took it again, didn't pass.”

Four years later, at the age of 78, it turned out the fifth time was the charm.

“She was crying and screaming, and dancing and clapping, and she wanted to go run around campus, we had to stop her,” Giani Kantor, Education Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities, said.

On Wednesday, as Castor walks across the stage, looks back at what she has done, and gets a certain feeling.

“I [feel] like a queen,” she said.

A true queen with the best crown of all... her graduation cap.

She said she hopes her accomplishment can be an example for others to never give up, no matter your age or obstacle.

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