52-Year-Old Dropout Is Now UCLA Honors Grad

Teresa Pitts went back to school 26 years after what she thought was her last day in the classroom.

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Teresa Pitts (The Huffington Post)

Fifty-two-year-old Teresa Pitts of Los Angeles didn't graduate with her high school class and dropped out of college twice. But at 46, after the deaths of older brother and mom, she decided that it wasn't too late to make a change. Twenty-six years after what she thought was her last day in the classroom, she went back to school, and this year she graduated from UCLA with honors. Pitts talked to the Huffington Post about her journey.

On her source of inspiration:

I thought about my brother because he had gone to law school and he did not finish, not because he didn't want to but because he died. He didn't get to realize his dream and it was a shame because he was brilliant. And here I was throwing away education frivolously. So when I went back in 2005, I was determined. I thought about Greg often, any time I got tired or lazy. I would say, "You don't even have a right to do that. He was in a wheelchair and he still managed to go to law school!" I told people I was going to graduate or die."

On the long-awaited graduation weekend:

I spent two years at UCLA and graduated with a bachelor's degree in English with college honors. I went to four different graduation events from Friday through Sunday: the honors, English, college and African ceremonies. I was constantly ironing my gown!

On her father's reaction:

Later he told me he had the picture up at his job and his colleagues asked him if that was his daughter. He told them, "Yeah, that's my daughter. She's a go-getter like her mom."

I had never heard him speak that way about me. I went on Facebook and I made a status that said, "My dad called tonight. He said I did a good thing and I was a go-getter like my mom. This is the best day of my life."

Check back for updates in about four years, because Pitts tells the Huffington Post that she's studying for the LSAT and her next step is law school.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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