ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — At 78 years old, assisted-living facility resident Vickie Ragnar just received her associate’s degree in English from Rock Valley College.

A resident of Heritage Woods in Rockford, Ragnar always dreamed of going back to school.

“I thought, ‘I’m so old. Life is over. I didn’t do everything I wanted to do.” said Ragnar.

“And then I got over it and I thought, ‘I can do this, I should be going to school.’ And I did.”

The road wasn’t easy. Ragnar had to take four algebra prerequisites just to get started. “I had to take each one of the four times because I don’t get algebra,” she said. “My teacher said, ‘I have never seen anybody as persistent as you are.'”

The senior student’s persistence paid off. After 30 years of dreaming, Vickie rolled across the stage to receive her associates degree in English.

“She’s overcome many hurdles just to get to school and come back. And health issues. So she’s very determined and we loved it about her,” said Crystal Villarreal, resident service coordinator at Heritage Woods.

On Wednesday, Ragnar celebrated alongside staff and residents of Heritage Woods with a massive graduation party. She hopes to inspire others to go after their dreams and goals.

“If there’s something you want to do, do it, just do it. So there were times when I think ‘oh, I don’t want to go. I’m tired. Do it anyway, and if you really want something bad enough, you can get it no matter what.”

Rock Valley College offers tuition-free classes to all students over age-65.