“I haven’t done anything other than what everybody else does, you know. But for some reason I’ve lived a little longer.” – Nola Ochs
This is an inspiring real life story that needs a place on my blog for sure.Nola Ochs was born in 1911 in Illinois.Daughter of a mother who was herself a teacher, the encouragement for acquiring education was always there.She completed grade school, moving on to high school which she graduated from in 1929.She passed a teacher’s certification exam and started teaching in country schools.Due to this reason, she joined a college correspondence program in Fort Hays State University in Kansas.After 4 years she married Vermon Ochs, who was a farmer.Country life became so hectic and busy that she didin’t had enough time to plan further studies while raising four boys and a farm.
In 1972 she had a turning point in her life.Her husband dies, and as she had already raised her family,she wanted to do something with her time and efforts.Somewhere deep inside was a craving for knowledge, and she wanted to spend her time effectively and productively. Giving it a thought, at the age of 67, she decided to take classes from Dodge City Community College.
“Probably my advice would be to keep active, always. You know, people retire. That doesn’t mean to sit down and stay there, or watch television. Retirement ought to give us time to go out and just do what we want to do. So my advice is to satisfy some desire that we have within ourselves to get out to go see people, travel a little, anything that they’d like to do rather than just be idle.” – Nola Ochs
She seemed like a grandmother to all her classmates.But they treated her equal, because of her ability to fit in, entertaining them with her good sense of humor, and connecting easily with then through her life-long experienceFor ten years she continuously took classeswhich were of interest to her and appealed her, like history, composition, agri-business marketing and tennis.One day, a professor told her that if she took college algebra classes, she would have enough credit hours to receive a graduation degree from the Dodge City Community College.She followed his advice and in 1988 she graduated from Dodge City College.
After graduation, she realized she always wanted to go back to dodge college, because acquiring knowledge gave her a good use of her time, and she managed time effectively, while enjoying and gaining.Next, she decided to get her graduation degree from a college which offered a four years bachelor program.So she contacted Fort Hays State University, where she had abandoned her college correspondence.She mailed and informed that she had been a previous student at the institution.After some looking up, college administration was sure that she had been a student at their institute in 1930, and were surprised to know that at her age, she had the enthusiasm alive to learn again.
She initially pursued her degree through long-distance correspondence, but later when it became difficult, she joined the on campus apartment of the Fort Hays University, Kansas.There she finally accomplished with the final 30 credit hours of her bachelors degree.All this while she became a favorites of both students and teachers alike.During history classes they were eager to know her personal experiences and her viewpoint.
On May 14, 2007 she made a Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest college graduate when she received her diploma at Fort Hay’s State University, Kansas.She graduating at 95 years of age with a 3.7 GPA.She completed her general studies degree with an emphasis on history.Her grand daughter Alexandra Ochs also graduated along with her from the same college, who was 21 years old at the time.
“I like to tell stories, you know. And when people ask me that, I tell them I’m going to seek employment on a cruise ship as a storyteller. The Princess Cruise Ship contacted me a year ago and I’ve already been on one tour as a storyteller.” – Nola Ochs
She loved telling stories, and had a taste for humor and wit.Therefore, she expressed her desires in front of a few press reporters.As a result she was contacted by The princess cruise ship, where she took a journey on the cruise as a storyteller, joined by her grand daughter Alexandra.
She took some time off, to help her family with wheat harvest season.Ochs started pursuing her Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Fort Hays State University in August 2007.
Credits:Fred Hunt (Hays Daily News)
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, left, presents Nola Ochs, center, with a specially modified Guinness Book of World Records as Nola’s grandaughter and fellow graduate Alexandra Ochs looks during a news conference after Fort Hays State University’s commencement ceremonies, Saturday, May 12, 2007, at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, Kan. The commencement ceremonies marked 95-year-old Nola Ochs as the world’s oldest college graduate. (AP Photo/Hays Daily News, Fred Hunt)/2007-05-14 11:25:30/
She received her master’s on May 15, 2010, making her the oldest recipient of a master’s degree at age 98. “I’ve led a long, interesting life. We went through dust storms. We had some difficult times in marriage, financially. But it’s been the Lord’s will that I’ve lived this long life, and I thank Him kindly for it.” – Nols Ochs