Kickass Woman Of The Day: 90-Year-Old Priscilla Sitienei Proves It’s Never Too Late To Get An Education
At 90-years-old, Priscilla Sitienei attends elementary school alongside six of her great-great-grandchildren and often scores better than them in class. Sitienei, who lives in Kenya and is lovingly known by her classmates as Gogo (“grandmother” in her local language of Kalenjin), is believed to be the oldest primary school student in the world. She lives in the village of Ndalat in the country’s Rift Valley and has spent the past five years attending the Leaders Vision Preparatory School. Before beginning her schooling she married young, raised ten children, and spent 65 years working as a midwife.
Gogo was born in the 1920s. When she was growing up, Kenya was under British colonial rule and women did not receive an education. Now, aside from her desire to learn, one of her biggest motivators in going to school is to encourage her great-grandchildren and other young people to take school seriously. Too many kids had told her they felt they were too old to start their educations. She told the BBC:
“I want to say to the children of the world, especially girls, that education will be your wealth…Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves…I see children who are lost, children who are without fathers, just going round and round, hopeless. I want to inspire them to go to school.”
The school initially tried to turn Gogo away, but her determination secured her a spot in the classroom. Her favorite subject is math, but she’s also thrilled about learning to read and write because it will enable her to read the Bible and record her midwifery and medicinal knowledge for younger generations. Her grades were first in her class last year, and she’s currently a prefect. Her young classmates, some of whom she helped deliver years ago, adore her. Gogo imparts wisdom to the kids, plays with them at recess, motivates them to work harder through friendly competition, and helps keep them on task. As if she weren’t busy enough, she occasionally still works as a midwife on weekends! Leaders Vision intends to write to Guinness record keepers to see if she can secure the world record for her age. It’s never too late to chase a new dream!
[Image via BBC/Leaders Vision Preparatory School]