A Unique Graduation Journey

At the age of 68, Sam Kaplan embarked on an extraordinary journey by enrolling in college. This spring, he proudly received his summa cum laude diploma in cinema and media arts from Georgia Gwinnett College. As the graduates cheered vociferously, Sam couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with joy, especially because he had his biggest supporter by his side – his 99-year-old mother.

Sam’s path to graduation was far from conventional. He had left high school over 50 years ago, and the last time he sat in a classroom was back in the 1960s. Throughout the years, Sam explored various careers, from running a telemarketing business to driving cabs and working as a wholesaler of electronics. It wasn’t until he reached the age of 68 that he decided to pursue his first college degree.

Sam stumbled upon the opportunity to go back to school while driving down Collins Hill Road. A radio announcement caught his attention – Georgia Gwinnett College was offering a degree that involved scriptwriting. Intrigued, Sam pulled over and registered for the autumn semester just five minutes later. Reflecting on that moment, Sam said, “My automobile appeared to be steering itself. It was like a sign, and I knew I had to seize this opportunity.”

Starting college at an older age might have given Sam some initial jitters. The thought of being surrounded by classmates who were more than half his age was daunting. However, Sam set daily goals for himself, making an effort to connect with younger students. He would approach a new pupil each day, striking up brief conversations and suggesting studying together. Through mutual understanding, growth, and sharing experiences, Sam formed meaningful connections with his classmates.

“I believe I get along well with them. On the last day of class, I received embraces from many of them,” Sam shared with pride. He also took an interest in his classmates’ future plans, politely asking about their aspirations. Sam’s respectful and courteous nature helped bridge the generational gap and fostered a supportive learning environment.

Support came not only from Sam’s newfound friends but from his 99-year-old mother, Kate Balsley, as well. Not only did she teach Sam in some of her seminars at Georgia Gwinnett College, but she also played the role of a proud and loving mother during the graduation ceremony. With tears of joy in her eyes, she watched her son receive his college diploma, basking in parental love and admiration.

While Sam’s academic journey may have reached its current milestone, he remains eager for new challenges. When asked about his plans for the future, the 72-year-old graduate expressed the possibility of pursuing further studies, even considering a master’s degree. Having authored two books, Sam has always had a keen interest in screenwriting. In an interview, he explained, “I’ve always wanted to write and bring stories to life. I needed the knowledge of how to do it, and that’s what college provided me.”

It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

Sam Kaplan’s remarkable story breaks the myth that age restricts or hinders one’s ability to pursue their aspirations. He serves as an inspiration for those who may be contemplating a return to school but fear it’s too late. Sam firmly believes, “It’s never too late to realize your dreams.”

Sam’s tale reminds us that learning is a lifelong endeavor, regardless of age. Every individual possesses the power to navigate through life with optimism, hope, and trust in the future. So, if you’ve been holding onto a dream, consider Sam Kaplan’s journey and take that leap. Because, remember, it’s never too late to rewrite your story.