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Woman, 85, Set To Graduate From Broward College Next Month

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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The college years came seven decades years later for a South Florida great-grandmother.

Elizabeth Janet Reilly, 85, is one month away from graduating from Broward College.

“I refuse to say I am too old I can’t do it because I am too old,” said Reilly.

Reilly, who is known as “Betty” among her classmates, told CBS4’s Jorge Estevez that as a teenager, a medical condition kept her from graduating high school. After that, five children, 19 grandchildren and great grandchildren kept her busy.

She decided to get her G.E.D at 80, then enrolled at age 81 at Broward College, where she received a scholarship for her tuition.

Her classmates say Reilly is an inspiration. The school says she is all part of a trend they are seeing of non-traditional students matriculating on campus.

Of the 45,000 students enrolled, 17,000 of them are ages 25 and over.

“She embodies the message that says there is support here for you and people to help you reach your educational goals,” said Ed Key with Broward College Enrollment Services.

After Reilly graduates, she plans on continuing her education at Florida Atlantic University to earn a degree in creative writing.

After that, she plans on becoming a motivational speaker.

I will be planning a future until the very end, whatever it is whenever it comes,” said Reilly. “You live like there are many tomorrows. Yes definitely there is, because I am proving it. I am proving it.”

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