Education knows no age, and this adage rings particularly true for Sam Kaplan. A half-century had passed since Kaplan last found himself in a formal educational setting. However, at 68, the halls of Georgia Gwinnett College welcomed him as he embarked on a quest to earn a degree in Cinema and Media Arts. Four years later, at 72, with his 99-year-old mother among the audience, Kaplan donned the graduation gown and walked the stage to receive his well-earned diploma.
In the year 1969, Kaplan waved goodbye to his high school years. Life unfolded, bringing myriad roles and experiences, including fatherhood to five children, entrepreneurship in the cleaning and telemarketing sectors, and a stint as a taxi driver. College was a distant thought until the allure of scriptwriting pulled him back to the academic world.
Adapting to a classroom filled with younger peers posed challenges, but Kaplan found a connection in the shared human experience of dreams and ambitions. Conversations about plans and lifelong aspirations fostered bonds, earning him the affection of many fellow students. “Engaging students in conversations about their lives and dreams isn’t common,” Kaplan reflects. “But it has allowed me to build meaningful relationships with them.”
The pinnacle of Kaplan’s educational journey was accentuated by the presence of family, especially his nonagenarian mother, witnessing the triumphant moment. A sense of pride permeated the air as he became the first among his seven siblings to hold a college degree. “This diploma isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s a testament to a journey of learning that defied the constraints of age,” says Kaplan.
At 72, with the enthusiasm of a lifelong learner, Kaplan stands as a testimony to the timeless nature of education. Each step, from the taxi driver’s seat to the college graduation stage, is a chapter of a story where learning and life are intrinsically intertwined. Congratulations, Sam Kaplan – a student, a graduate, and a lifelong learner.