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'Keep going': Central Texas woman soon to be TAMUCT's oldest grad

Posted at 8:39 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 10:10:07-05

After years of prioritizing her family needs and dreams, one Central Texas woman is finally fulfilling her own.

At 75 years young, on May 14, 2022, Ethel Johnson will be the oldest graduate from Texas A&M Central Texas.

Ethel Johnson is originally from San Antonio but settled in Killeen after her husband retired from the military. As a military spouse, Johnson went as far as Germany but never lost sight of her dream. Starting in 2016, she would take one or two classes a semester at A&M Central. She now has her sights set on graduation.

"Oh, I never thought I would be wearing one of these," said Johnson as she tried on her cap and gown for the first time.

Her dream has been 57 years in the making. Since 1965, she took classes all over the world, selflessly serving her family.

"I’ve always put my husband and my children first- you know, whatever they want I’ve always supported them. It feels like a void has been filled," Johnson said.

Now, her family is returning the favor. One of her daughters, Teresa Johnson, has been supporting her mother through it all.

"I know how bad she wanted to do this, how bad she wanted to continue her education. It feels good- it makes me feel good as a woman, good as her daughter, good as a mother myself, to give my mother back what she’s always given us," said Teresa.

So, on graduation day when Ethel turns the tassel, her dreams will officially come true.

Johnson said, "This was my dream and I fulfilled it. I’m sleeping in this gown and I’m sleeping with the hat on, don’t y’all try to take it off."

Proving the old saying to be true, "a dream delayed is not a dream denied." Ms. Johnson will be getting her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and plans to hit the golf course with her husband after graduation.