Learning for Life Student of the Year Awarded to 80 Year Young Woman

Photo of Betty Lee ChumleyLEXINGTON, KY (September 5, 2007) Betty Lee Chumley bristles when she hears people say they are too old to go back and finish high school. At 80 years young and set to complete her GED she knows that is just not true. Her determination to get an education was recognized by the Kentucky Department of Adult Education at its regional conference where she was presented the region five Learning for Life Student of the Year Award.

The Learning for Life award is presented to a student who has overcome significant obstacles or is making great progress in achieving his or her educational goals or who has been a role model for his or her children and/or other adult education students.

A native of Lexington, Betty was nominated by her Adult Education instructor Brandon Knight in part for having the courage to return to school after 65 years. Despite poor health Betty came to school nearly every day for a year before mounting gas prices forced her to limit her trips. Her absence noticed by fellow students who said her presence and determination inspired them; they began leaving gas cards for her.

Born August 27, 1927, to a young mother with three children, Betty was not encouraged to attend school. Her brief educational experiences came at the former Wolf Run School on Versailles Road attending sporadically she then attempted to attend Lafayette High School but was forced to work to help the family and her academic exposure ended. Betty credits her love of reading for her ability to succeed. Married for a short time at age 30, she had no children.

Her decision to return to school at 77 years old was the result of both a meeting with a minister who encouraged her to as a way of making friends and pursuing a lifelong dream and walking past an encouraging banner at a BCTC Adult Education Center.

Betty's plans for the future are to continue her education by attending college and maybe write a book about her life.