Arvada Grandmother Earns Third College Degree
Education Motivated By Family Members' Military Service
Last Updated: 1086 days ago
With an infectious smile and strong determination, Tommie McCloskey returned to the classroom with students a third her age.Some of them have even given her the nickname, "Mom.""I love to learn," McCloskey said. "You just don't get an A because you are an old person; you have to earn it."She's just two months away from earning an associate's degree in medical specialties from College America in Denver, and in the process served as an inspiration, and even "practice patient" for her classmates."Sometimes in injections class, you get poked five or six times," McCloskey said.One of her classmates is also her daughter."She was kind of sitting at home, kind of getting on my nerves because she wasn't really doing a lot, and I wasn't really going anywhere with my life," said Kathleen McCloskey. "So she was like, 'Come on, you got to do something, if I can do it at my age, you can do it being your age.'"Tommie already has a bachelor's degree in business and a master's degree in business administration, but she said this degree is about helping others."Well it's a soft spot with me, my dad was in the Air Force, he served 39 years," Tommie McCloskey said. "My daughter is in there now."Tommie is retired and doesn't need to work for a paycheck, but instead, plans to volunteer at the VA hospital helping veterans in any way she can."If they want to play checkers, I will play checkers with them, or I'll just sit and talk to them, or just sit and hold their hand," Tommie said.And her goal has inspired Kathleen to do the same."I don't always let her know that she is my hero and has been my hero since I was little," Kathleen said. "She shows me that whatever obstacle I face in life, I can overcome it."Tommie's story is a textbook example of turning boredom into a passion, and a new career, at an age when others contemplate retiring."If I can have someone look up at me and say 'thank you,' that's enough," Tommie said.Tommie is on track to graduate from College America in August with a GPA of 3.7. Her daughter Kathleen will continue her education, earning a bachelor's degree in health care administration.