101-Year-Old Sarah Simpkins Set to Graduate College Alongside Granddaughter in 2024


by Paulina Isaac

January 8, 2024

Sarah Simkins is getting her college degree at age 101.

According to WTOK News, the grandmother is studying early childhood education at Brightpoint Community College in Chester, Virginia. Simpkins is able to study at the college due to Virginia’s Senior Citizens Higher Education Act of 1974, which allows senior citizens to enroll in higher education at no cost.

Simpkins dropped out of college more than eight decades ago after becoming pregnant. She later had 12 children but always wanted to finish her degree. “I wanted to do that just to prove to me that I can do it,” Simpkins told WTOK News.


She takes in-person art classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and finds her usual coursework to be easy. “When I go to do the homework, that’s easy,” Simpkins explained. “Piece of cake.”

Plus, she has company when it comes to her schoolwork. Simpkins’ granddaughter, Halimah Shepherd-Crawford, is also studying at the community college. At age 96, Simpkins moved from New York to Virginia to live with Shepherd-Crawford.

“My grandmother’s just an inspiration,” Shepherd-Crawford told WTOK News. “It’s special because we both will finish together, and we’ll both walk across the stage together.” The grandmother and granddaughter will graduate together in May 2024.


“It made us work harder. And that was our motivation. We’re gonna do this together. We’re gonna finish together,” Shepherd-Crawford continued. Simpkins, who finished her first semester at Brightpoint Community College with a 3.5 GPA, added, “I wanted to do that just to prove to me that I can do it.”

(Cover photo: Sarah Simpkins and Halimah Shepherd-Crawford/Photo credit: Instagram)

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