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At 70, Orange County Man Set To Graduate

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ORANGE COUNTY — High school seniors all across the Triangle are getting ready to walk across the stage and get their diploma, but there is one man in Orange County whose journey to get to this point started decades ago.

Clifton Ingram has lived most of his life in the country. As the son of a sharecropper, it meant long hours helping his father, and very little time in the classroom.

"After I began to learn a little something, it was something I really wanted to do," he says.

Over the years, that thirst for learning never faded.

"I just knew that I was gonna go until I got [my diploma]," Ingram says.

And now, at 70 years old, Ingram is getting ready to graduate. He started going to Durham Tech three years ago to get his GED.

Frances Ingram says her husband has always been strong-willed and determined, especially when it comes to the classroom.

"I'm real proud of him, ya know," she says. "He just loved it so much. The professors are so nice. They talked about one time, he was through and didn't want to stop. So they talked about kickin' him out," she laughs.

Ingram only attended 4th and 5th grade. He says it was in the Army that he really learned to read and write.

"I would do it for hours at a time and I still love to read," he says.

Next week, he will turn his tassle for the first time.

But it might not be the last time he wears one: Ingram is thinking about taking college classes next.