73-year old grandfather is a proud graduate

Richard Johnson, 73, graduated with his GED from Leeward Community College on Saturday. Photo courtesy Kelly Johnson

For Richard Johnson, it’s never too late in life to get a good education.

After successfully passing his GED tests, the proud 73-year-old graduated at Saturday’s commencement at Leeward Community College, bringing to an end a decade-long mission to become a literate man.

According to his daughter-in-law Kelly Johnson, “not being able to read or write didn’t stop him from making a life.”

His inspirational story started after his retirement from Meadow Gold Dairies 11 years ago. “Once in retirement, he didn’t want to stay home and be bored,” she said by phone Sunday. “Also, seven years ago, his twin brother passed away, and because I believe they shared a learning disability genetic disorder, they both dropped out of school after the third grade.

“His goal was to read to his grandkids books like ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’, and since he’s graduated, he now has four great grandchildren,” Johnson said.

Before his graduation from Windward School for Adults at Kalaheo High School, the elder Johnson previously attended the adult school at the Waimanalo Public and School Library.

“He’s proud of himself,” Johnson said. “He’s telling everyone not to give up. In fact, he wants to go to college now.”

When asked what he would want to study on the university level, Johnson turned to ask her father-in-law off-phone, and then replied “he wants to major in auto mechanics.”

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