‘Never give up’: 75-year-old Myrtle Beach woman goes back to school, earns degree

‘Never give up’: 75-year-old Myrtle Beach woman goes back to school, earns degree
Fighting deteriorating health, even hospitalized in 2019 after falling and injuring herself, Semmie Flory was forced to put her education on hold. (Source: Aaron Ladd/WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A 75-year-old Myrtle Beach woman has a lot to celebrate, after finally crossing the stage at graduation on Friday.

Despite deteriorating health, and even being hospitalized after fall, Semmie Flory persevered and officially earned her degree.

“It’s amazing man. I didn’t think I could do it. I’m 75 years old," Flory said with tears in her eyes, surrounded by friends and family.

The grandmother earned her associates degree in medical assisting from the Conway branch of Miller-Motte Technical School.

“She was like,’I’m bored.” and I was like, ’OK? What do you want to do?" said Abree Clark, Flory’s granddaughter. “She said 'I’m going back to school.”

And after nearly half a century away from the classroom, Flory headed back to class.

“I would come over and help her with homework. My friends would call and ask if I wanted to go out and I would say, 'Nope. Working on homework with my grandma," Clark said.

Flory’s journey to graduation included plenty of obstacles, including a 10-week leave of absence after a brief hospitalization. But despite that, she as able to complete her program.

“I’m so proud of myself. I had some ups and downs. I broke my pelvis. I had cataract surgery, I had all that stuff but I kept pushing and pushing," Flory said.

“We’re just all extremely proud of her," said Kristy James, Allied Health program director at Miller Motte-Conway. “She had to take an LOA but came back and hit the ground running and graduated on time.”

The 75-year-old completed her program and offers advice to those who think their time has passed.

“Don’t let anything stop you. If it’s there for you to get, go out and get it! You can’t get anything done saying ‘I want to’ you have to want to do it and you have to do it!"

Flory already has a job and is working full-time in the medical field.

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