83-year-old Atwater woman gets high school diploma

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Marcella Baca of Atwater is giddy with excitement because next week the 83-year-old grandmother is getting her high school diploma.

"I got in there and I kept going and I did it," she said.

She started school last September at the Merced Adult School campus in Atwater. At first, it was very intimidating for her. It didn't help that all her class work needed to be done on a computer.

"I was a little nervous, I did not know what I was doing, I didn't know what I was going to get into," said Baca.

"I asked her hey, what's your experience with computers?," said her instructor Valdemar Sobrevilla. "She was like, "I can push buttons," so I said, "that's good enough, that will work".

If she didn't let the passing of time hold her back, she would not let technology. Sobrevilla said it was her positive outlook that helped her overcome all obstacles.

"She always knew how to put a positive spin on things even when she was having a bad day, she would still find a way to make it funny," he said.

As a young adult, Marcella dropped out of high school to care for her sick mother and take over the family business. She always contemplated going back, but her responsibilities as a daughter and mother always came first.

It was her granddaughter Heather Weigel who gave her the extra push she needed.

"I asked her, did you think about it, do you want to do it?" said Weigel. "I can set up a meeting? I did and she was excited about it."

More than 60 years later, she can finally say she did it. Her family right by her side cheering her on. Marcella said next she wants to put her diploma to work, she wants to go into the child development field.
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