Ann Houston has lived through a lot in life, but nothing like what she experienced Friday night at Ivy Tech’s ceremonies at Ford Center.
While many people her age are retiring, she is just getting started.
It’s graduation season in the Tri-State, and at 71 years-young, she certainly stands out from her peers.
“I’m not one of those to sit around,” she says, “when I put my mind to something, I intend to do it.”
Motivated by her grandson who graduated from Indiana University, Ann’s story is less about graduating, but more about survival and redemption.
“They thought I was gonna die.”
One morning, 20 years ago, Ann didn’t wake up.
“It was scary,” her daughter, Clarissa Boone, says.
Ann had suffered a devastating stroke, and doctors said she would never walk or talk again.
“They said you have to go to a nursing home,” Ann says, determined to prove them wrong. “I’m like, ‘I’m going home!’”
A comeback that defies the doctor’s odds, helped by her love of children.
Ann has run a daycare for more than 30 years, and it’s the kids that keep her going. She’s not ready to retire just yet. Ann is looking to teach young children with her education degree.
And a child of her own is the icing on Friday’s cake.
Ann’s daughter, Clarissa, graduates too, with a degree in hospitality.
“I didn’t think I was going to continue,” says Clarissa, “but I made it!”
With a steady stride and a rigid reach, a spirited smile anoints Ann, reaching out for the diploma wrapped in green leather.
You might think Ann is content with her associates degree – but no. She plans to go for her masters degree in education too.
“My dad always told us, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Ann is living proof that it’s never too late for the old college try.