By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
Learning is a lifetime process. Whenever we cease to learn, we begin to die. In May 2015, Anthony Brutto graduated from West Virginia University. He is 94-years-old. He started college in 1939, when tuition was just $50.
After going to college for three years, he was drafted and served in the Army Air Corps as a mechanic. Brutto wanted to get his education, so he returned to college, but had to drop out when his wife became ill. He worked as a machinist for most of his life before recently deciding to go back and get his diploma. He said, “It was always important to me to graduate.”
Anthony said that he never quit learning, but he wanted a degree that showed that he could still learn. He was asked about a master’s degree, but he indicated that he was 94-years-old and wanted to take a break and do some learning on his own.
Priscilla Sitienei is a 90-year-old Kenyan who never had a chance to go to school as a child. At 90-years-old she decided she needed to learn to read. She has just enrolled in a local elementary school where she is studying math, English, physical education and drama along with several of her great-great-grandchildren. Priscilla said, “I want to inspire children to get an education. Too many older kids are not in school. They tell me they are too old. I tell them, that I go to school and so should you.” Learning is a lifelong process.
Contrast Anthony Brutto and Priscilla Sitienei with Tanishq Abraham. In May 2015, Tanishq graduated from American River College in Sacramento, California, along with 1,800 other students. The amazing thing is that Tanishq is only 11-years-old! Tanishq said, “It feels good to graduate.” He earned three associate’s degrees in math and physical
science, general science, and foreign language studies. That is not bad for an 11-year-old!
He was home-schooled by his mother. He graduated from high school at age 10. He had already been taking classes at American River College since he was 7-years-old.That is a pretty good range of graduates, Anthony and Priscilla in their 90’s and Tanishq Abraham at 11.
I expect all of us would fit somewhere in between. The important thing is they all were learning at their given age.
One of the challenges for graduating in 2015 is that this year’s graduating class from college in the most indebted in history. Students graduating this year owe a total of $56 billion in student loans. About 71 percent of all college graduates took out loans. The average loan was $35, 051 each. Compare this to twenty years ago when only 58 percent of students took out loans and owed less than $20,000 at graduation.
This indicates that students better make a good application of their learning. Education is not just facts that we learn, but how we apply them in specific situations. The smartest people are not always those who have the most degrees, but those who apply what they learn. Paul told Timothy “Study to show yourself approved a workman who is not ashamed…” (II Timothy 2:15).