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12-year-old graduates Excelsior College

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Graduating from college is a milestone moment for many.

At the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Excelsior College is holding its annual graduation ceremony on Friday. The oldest graduate to walk across the stage today is 72 years old. Get this, 60 years separate the oldest and the youngest.

“I want to go into my masters in environmental engineering, but I do want to take a couple gap months,” DJ Tillman said.

Tillman already has an associate’s degree under her belt.

“School wasn’t as fun anymore. It wasn’t as fast-paced.”

On Friday, she’s walking across this stage, getting her bachelors from Excelsior College.

“My child care provider Miss Mary first noticed, she said you got a special baby that you need to understand at this baby is been here before I had no idea with this baby you been here before Meant.”

DJ’s short for Dorothy Jean, but her Mom, Jemelita nicknamed her Dorthy Genius.

“Dorothy, I believe started doing double digits by four or three and we are really excited about the way she loved learning.”

Dorothy is planning on masters in environmental engineering.

Jemelitia says this girl from the south side of Chicago is beating the odds.

“There are some great things coming out of the south side of Chicago and this, my baby, is one of the greatest of them all.”

“With environmental engineering, it’s all about helping people, the environment, and that’s just what I love to do, that’s what makes me happy,” DJ said.

“In our culture, intellectualism an academic achievement has been diminished over time and I think it’s incredibly important particularly at a time when there are questions about the value of a higher education.”

Both Dorothy and her mother don’t feel like she’s missing out on being a child.

“It’s not I just lock myself away from the world. I still have friends and we go to the park and go to movies.”

“My child plays with bubbles, my child still loves to go on the swing so when the question comes up while is she nervous that she is going to miss stop for high school, she’s not even in the high school mind fame.”

Jemelitia joked that she hopes her daughter becomes part of the newly announced Space Force.


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