This is Home - Woman graduates WVUP at age of 83

PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP)- “A goal of mine, not a bucket list thing, a goal has always been to get my education.”

Sharon O’Neill had a life full of “can’t’s.

I got married at 17, I had five children, and then I worked and was divorced and I raised my five children by myself, and a lot of the cant’s were ‘you can’t do that by yourself’…I did it.”

After 38 years of working and raising successful children, O’Neill went back to school and West Virginia University at Parkersburg. During her time there, she served as a mentor and friend to many of her classmates.

“I thought, well possibly some of the things that I have lived through in my ling life might be useful to someone else.”

At the age of 83, Sharon O’Neill became the oldest community and technical college graduate in the history of the West Virginia Community and Technical College system.

She also served as the commencement speaker where she emphasized the importance of perseverance.

“Many of the graduates have been through ‘can’t’s’ . A lot of people have been told ‘you can’t do that’, you’ve heard all that. I want them to realize that they have overcome ‘can’t’. Here we all are; they can. And then they need to go realize they can conquer,” she says.

At the 48th annual spring ceremony with 264 of her classmates, O’Neill accomplished her goal.

“All of our roads are different as we come to the graduation. All of us have different struggles, but to look at life and go ‘this is something that I want to accomplish’ and no matter what age to go back in and get that…that’s so inspiring,” adds Chad Shealy, WVUP guest speaker.

O'Neill earned a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in history.

5/11/19

It’s never too late to learn, and one Parkersburg native proves just that.

Sharon O’Neill is 83 years old and the eldest community and technical college graduate in the history of the West Virginia Community Technical and College System.

She also served as the commencement speaker for the ceremony Saturday morning.

The message of her speech was simple.

“Many of the graduates have been through ‘can’t’s’ . A lot of people have been told ‘you can’t do that’, you’ve heard all that. I want them to realize that they have overcome ‘can’t’. Here we all are; they can. And then they need to go realize they can conquer,” she explains.

The school awarded certificates and degrees to 265 students in the school’s 48th annual spring ceremony.