HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's a story of perseverance and triumph. The Friday night graduation at Drake State Community and Technical College was three-quarters of a century in the making for one special grad.
"I never even dreamed I would be here. It wasn't even my focus that I would be doing what I'm doing now,” an overwhelmed Annie Watts said.
She is a 75-year-old grandmother who walked across the stage Friday and got her associate degree.
"I was always told that I couldn't learn anything. It don't make you feel good when people tell you that you're dumb, ignorant, and that you wouldn't learn anything. It don't make you feel good when I knew in my mind that I could learn just like anybody else can,” Watts said.
Life wasn’t always easy for her. To escape a violent household, she dropped out of school in just seventh grade.
"If you don't try, you'll fail. If you don't try at it, how do you know you can't do it? See, I said I'm going to go back,” Watts passionately added.
At 70 years old she got her GED. Five years later, she got her associate degree.
Believe it or not, she did it all while battling cancer.
Her cap reads, "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,” her favorite Bible verse.
When her name was called, a roaring applause filled the Von Braun Center.
Watts believes that through her story, others will be inspired. No matter what happens in life, no matter how old or young you are, she says to never, ever give up.
"God is going to show you what he can do. He's gonna make believers out of you all. I feel whatever you are doing just keep doing it, I am,” she said.
The president of the institution presented her with a special honor of completion.
For now, she plans to tutor whoever needs her help.
The good news is she is in remission for her cancer.
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