HOUSTON (June 6, 2012) – At the Lone Star College-CyFair 2012 commencement ceremony this past month, one unique graduate was singled out for her accomplishment – 83-year-old Peggy Wills – who asked her instructor David Potts to help escort her across the stage so that she wouldn’t fall during this moment.
She didn’t trip, but instead was given a gift, something she had never had.
First a few people, then more and finally the entire room was standing in ovation for Wills and her accomplishment. After eight years, at age 83, Wills received her associate of arts in visual communications and video and post production.
“I didn’t know how to react, so I just waved” said Wills. “It was the most exciting day of my life. Everyone was coming up to take photos with me. It was crazy.”
Wills first started college in Rome, Georgia when she was young, but she left shortly after to get married and start a family.
“Oh, I’ve gone back a few times, once to University of Houston and once to University of Minnesota. But I could never finish – until now,” said Will. “This time it stuck!”
After Wills’ husband passed away, she met David Potts, professor of TV/motion graphics at a fundraising event where he was videotaping. Potts invited her to tour his department and challenged her to sign up for one of his classes.
“Within two weeks of my first class, I was standing behind a $12,000 camera filming a play,” Wills said. “By the end of those two hours I was so hooked I never looked back. I took every course I could get my hands on.
“I was only 75 when I started taking classes, but the other students didn’t cut me any slack. I had to pull my load. I set up tripods, carried cables and cameras, everything they did,” she said.
Attending LSC-CyFair and obtaining her associate degree wasn’t an easy road for Wills. She had to quit twice during this journey. The first time was only for a semester to take care of a friend who was dying from cancer in Georgia and the second time was because she was sick.
“I was more determined than ever to finish. I was so close,” she said.
At 83, Wills said she plans to continue her education and pursue a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston and then pursue a career in television production.
When asked if she had advice for anyone considering going back to school?
“I would tell everyone to follow your dream,” she said. “It’s never too late. If you want to go to college, for heaven’s sake – do it!
With 75,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.