Turlock Grandmother, 79, Graduates High School

Jonathan McCorkell/TurlockCityNews.com

Wednesday night’s Turlock Adult School 2014 Diploma Program graduation was a testament to the perseverance of students.

But one graduate stole the show – and drew a large contingent of media to the Turlock Community Theatre.

Life-long Turlock area resident Alice Ruth Walner, 79 years young, should have graduated Turlock High School in 1955. But she dropped out, married her husband Sherman, 88, then an active duty U.S. Navy sailor, and joined the civil service in various roles at numerous duty stations across the U.S.

For nearly the past six decades, Walner has been a little busy. She raised her seven children, and is a grandmother to 14 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and now one great, great grandchild. And she ran her own barbershop, Ruth’s in Gustine, from 1968 until 1981, after a car accident left Walner with a broken neck and forced an early retirement.

In the back of her mind, Walner always yearned for something she never finished: her high school diploma. Somehow, in the past year-and-a-half, she found time to earn that diploma and pass the California High School Exit Exam after enrolling in Turlock Adult School.

“I wanted to get my diploma so I could show my grandchildren that it’s never too late, and anything is possible with determination,” she said. “Even if it is finishing school at my age.”

According to Turlock Adult School Principal Isias Rumayor, when Walner came to TAS she needed to take about 40 credits of coursework. On top of that, she faced the tremendous hurdle of the CAHSEE.

“As an educator it is truly an eye-opening experience to see someone more than twice my age who is so hungry to continue learning,” said Rumayor. “She is retired and could have just kept on living her life but she never gave up her and she proves you’re never to old fulfill your dreams.”

Classmate Amy Silveria called Walner “a true inspiration who encourages me to pursue my college education at Merced College.”

Walner is also an inspiration to her large family, especially her youngest daughter Lisa Alcordo.

“My mom inspires me so much,” Alcordo said. “She is the super glue of our family. She does so much with her life. She fixes tile, hangs cabinets, sews, crotchets and she can fix anything she puts her hands on. On top of that she volunteers to keep the financial books for five different organizations and clubs. I don’t know how she did it but she somehow found the strength to get her high school diploma. I have no excuse for not doing anything now!”

Walner says the secret is simply hard work and determination.

“If I can earn my diploma at my age, anyone can. It just takes hard work and never giving up,” she said.

Couldn’t have said it better, Walner.

Turlock Adult School Class of 2014:

Carina Aguilar
Erendira G. Aguilar
Joel A. Alvarez
Brenda Nicole Arenas
Jessica Victoria Armendiaz
Jayme Dee Arthur
Daniel Asencio Jr.
Salvador Enrique Asencio
Anastasia Nadine Augsbury
Michelle Marie Ayala
Lisa Marie Baptista
Santos Barajas
Jeffrey Allen Baskins
Odesh Esho Behado
Jagpal Singh Brar
Collin Nicholas Burt
Banesa Yanilet Castaneda
Ciara Cree Cedres
Enrique Cruz Chavez
Jenny Burciaga Chavez
Arlene Chavolla
Jose Luis Chavolla
Anthony Thomas Ciccarelli
Ruben Bladimir Cornejo
Sandra Lizbeth Corona
Alyssa Marie Coronado
Jessica Viola Dart
Pamela Angelina Elias
Teresa Enriquez
Derrick Ray Evans
Victoria Galvan
Ruby Eileen Garcia
Neco Jay Garrett
Mario Arroyo Gil, Jr.
Charlene R. Girvin
Priscilla Guadalupe Godinez
Miguel Angel Gomez
Orlando Gomez
Daisy Elizabeth Gonzalez
Diego Gonzalez
Elizabeth Marie Gratton
Karen Yanet Guerra
Griselda Gutierrez
Alejandro Guzman Castorena
Xiomara Concepcion Henriquez
Jason P. Hilovsky
Chelsey Ann Hoewner
Paulina Faviola Ibarra
Gerardo Iniquez
Dakota Whayne James
Daniel Alexander Jones
Jody Alan Kuhn
Rosa Isela Lomeli
Teresa Alejandra Magana
Emmanuel Manases Maradiaga
Adrienne M. Marcus
Vanessa Sinclair Mares
Alyssa Roseanne Martinez
William E. Meyer
Taryn Raycine Molleson
Joshua A. Montano
Jorge Armando Mora
Judy Marlene Morais
Alfredo Daniel Morales Tellez
Laura Moreno
Edgar Negrete
Stivan Emad Nissan
Jesus Cortez Parra
Eivet Pavir Dizajtakieh
Alexis Payne
Adriana Perez Barron
Haley Maria Petersen
Ana Rosa Pimentel
Cynthia Prusso
Danica Tynanne Quistini
Indalecio Cuevas Rabago
Brandon L. Rhine
Celena Rodriguez
Leah Jennifer Rojas
Terresa Lee Rolland
Jennifer Elizabeth Salazar
Alyssa Brianna Sanchez
Celeste Sofia Carrillo Sanchez
Maria del Rosario Sanchez
Edward M. Serpa
Jason Paul Sherrill
Hannah Lorean Shorman
Amy Leane Silveira
Gurwinder Kaur Singh
Erica Michelle Soltero
Luke Manuel Sousa
Rajwant Kaur Takhar
Heriberto Coral Tapia
Maricela Anahi Tellez Morales
Sharil Vardeh
Alejandro Fausto Vasquez
Mindy Villagran Saturnino
December Lee Ann Wallace
Alice Ruth Walner
Amanda Ann Wilson
Tyler Allen White
Jeremy Robert Wright
Gabriela Alejandra Zacarias

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