North Carolina University Surprises 99-Year-Old WWII Vet By Granting Her Commencement Wish Decades After She Made History
After missing commencement exercises because she was already using her degree and teaching, PFC Elizabeth Barker Johnson will finally have the chance to walk across the stage and experience the thrill of graduation.
Johnson recently celebrated her 99th birthday, and she had some very special guests at the party.
Dr. Darryl Scriven, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education at Winston-Salem State University, and Dr. Shannon Matthews, interim associate dean of the college were in attendance to present Johnson with a very special gift.
Dr. Scriven invited Johnson to participate in this year's commencement exercises and Dr. Matthews presented her with a box containing her cap, gown, and stole.
You can see the emotional birthday announcement below:
Elizabeth Barker Johnson's 99th Birthday Surprise youtu.be
Johnson was born and raised in Elkin, NC but had to travel to Winston-Salem to attend school because there were no schools for black students in the segregated town.
She has made history several times throughout her life, first enlisting in the army in 1943, where she joined the 6888th regiment—the only battalion made up entirely of African American women that served overseas during WWII.
She is one of only 5 members of the 6888th still alive today. A monument honoring all 855 members of the battalion was recently unveiled at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Johnson then made history again by being the first woman to attend what was then Winston-Salem Teachers College using the GI Bill.
She graduated with an education degree in 1949 and immediately went to work. She was unable to participate in her class' graduation ceremony because she was unable to find a substitute to cover her classroom during the event.
Elwood L. Robinson, WSSU chancellor, commented on Johnson's life and commitment to helping others:
"From serving her country during World War II to impacting the lives of hundreds of students as a classroom teacher in North Carolina and Virginia, PFC Elizabeth Barker Johnson is the embodiment of Winston-Salem State's motto, 'Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve.'"
"We are inspired by her and excited to give her the opportunity, 70 years later, to finally walk across stage for commencement."
When asked what she thought about finally getting to walk across the stage, Johnson said:
"I'm going to think I'm dreaming."
Social media users were excited that Johnson would finally have the opportunity to march with a graduating class.
Congratulations to Mrs. Elizabeth Barker Johnson on achieving this tremendous milestone! We honor you today for all… https://t.co/96SZFCDSld— BrandedForKnowledge (@BrandedForKnowledge)1556888753.0
Salute to Elizabeth Barker Johnson... a 99 year old WWII veteran, who later taught school in NC for 40 years... as… https://t.co/A9qaMNzK1t— Dianne Gallagher (@Dianne Gallagher)1557183368.0
SHOW HER SOME LOVE! World War II veteran Elizabeth Barker Johnson got her ultimate birthday wish – she'll get to wa… https://t.co/VqLQOQSRuW— 12NewsNow (@12NewsNow)1556991000.0
@FOX46News Pretty darn awesome! Congratulations to her!— Stephen (@Stephen)1556901919.0
2019 commencement exercises for Winston-Salem State University will be held on May 10th, starting at 8:45 a.m.
Anyone who cannot attend the event will be able to see it live-streamed at WSSU's website.
When I was heading into high school from middle my guidance counselor and my parents wanted me to enter into "gifted" classes because I was able to maintain a high GPA. They thought it would give me a head start for a great college and then prime me for the Presidency. I protested and negotiated signing up for merely "advanced" classes, God forbid I go with "regular" classes, or we all just get the same education. I have never regretted it.
The Burnout....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY3NS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjEzNDA2NX0.ijpw8O47yiRhzJTOYcBBM7yyTrRjzJ8xNgm5mNQECXY/img.gif?width=980" id="6854e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="072d2539b34253282d547cf0bbf1308f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="270" />burnt out GIF by Space JamGiphy<p>High expectations from a young age, from everyone, leading to overworking, depression anxiety and burnout. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/krlc7z/former_gifted_children_what_went_wrong/giam8gs?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">isthispaige</a><span></span></p>
Don't Push....<p>For me the high expectations were combined with questionable parenting. My mom didn't really understand that you can't just push people you need them to buy in and you need to know how things work. My mom would yell at me for doing poorly in high school math but didn't understand that if I didn't have high school math I couldn't go into a business or engineering degree and now I'm messed because my BA & MA are useless.</p><p>Pushing your kids too hard is really crappy. Also, not meeting their basic emotional needs or giving them fun stuff to do will also mess with them. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/krlc7z/former_gifted_children_what_went_wrong/gic1zty?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">ContactLess128</a></p>
In the 6th....<p>In sixth grade I started at a very prestigious school geared toward college prep. At my previous school I excelled with minimal effort, rarely got under 99% on any test or quiz or project. Sixth grade starts, and now I have 3+ hours of homework a night. Couple that with piano lessons (I didn't particularly enjoy them) once a week and extra curricular like sports and I had less free time as a sixth grader than I do now at 33 with a full time job 45 minute one way commute, and a three year old daughter. </p>
Average<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY4NC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDQyMTYxMX0.-_otEKw2647KC3CHL-P5Mn6La9e7zuK7jfK2Wnxnw2A/img.gif?width=980" id="dcce7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9cf8b7dd9131ecda2b72a98a6a624ec7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="258" />student pass GIF by Juan BillyGiphy<p>I never learned how to work for my grades. Even now in college, I find it hard to sit down and do my work and I push everything to the last minute.</p>
So Many Issues....<p>Sounds like a cop out, but to an extent I blame my mother. I'd come home having scored a 98/99 and her brand of "comedy" was to ask what happened to the other 1 or 2%. She loves me and didn't mean any harm by it, but after a while it wears on you. I started feeling like if I didn't try it wouldn't matter to me if I missed out on a few percentage points here or there anymore because I'd always have a legitimate excuse for myself. </p>
:(<p>ADHD and child abuse. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/krlc7z/former_gifted_children_what_went_wrong/giaj6fh?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Yeti-lover</a></p>God, this. I tested in the upper percentile early on, and I was put in advanced classes. I don't know what it's like now, but California had really good programs when I was a kid. However, I went undiagnosed for ADD as well. This, along with my parent's expectations meant I disappointed them more often than not.
Derailed....<p>Mental illness and being poorly prepared for life, but I've gotten control of it. Now I'm a little behind in life but I'm back in college and have a 4.0. Sometimes we get derailed but it's never too late to try again. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/krlc7z/former_gifted_children_what_went_wrong/giakrri?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Viiibrations</a><span></span></p>
Only to be Smarter....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY4OS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDcwNjE4MX0.faewKXS7fRsNJgcoScogB9exiwe4PB7s5saRr3iRUa8/img.gif?width=980" id="c33a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="96e33ef88fe8d9f48cc6aca159626a44" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="480" data-height="400" />Smart Think About It GIF by FriendsGiphy<p>The same things that go wrong for most gifted kids: Gifted education doesn't deliver. I was head of every class I was in for the longest time, but giving the smart kid more of the same work doesn't teach them about being challenged. </p>
"gifted and talented"<p>Developed severe depression and didn't get help until after I had already failed pretty much all my classes for 3 years in a row and fallen behind, and then fell another year behind when I was in a long-term progress-based outpatient program getting treatment for my depression. Then, when I finally went back to school with my mental health in check, I had about a month of good grades and success before I started to develop major health problems. </p>
Early On....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY5MC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzkwMTMyOX0.7fBVI0H8k1fOLM6dA-kSlKQotuQoUW29wLNZMaJwM4A/img.gif?width=980" id="14637" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a417c27d01b1b4c43368cbffc0c35e4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="250" data-height="188" />life GIFGiphy<p>From a really early age i was considered a bright kid. Now when interacting with people in my daily life, it's generally understood that I come off as pretty smart, but i never had accomplishments that were consistent with that. </p>
College Graduates That Discovered Their Majors Were Useless In The Real World Break Down What They Do Now
The real world is a harsh place. We don't learn that soon enough. When we're younger we believe everything is possible and whatever it is that we want to do for a living is going to be a success. So we head off to school to procure that dream and in school we learn all we can and the dream grows bigger.
Then a little while after graduation, many people realize, the dream is a fantasy and the major they chose maybe more problematic than bountiful. Not many companies are looking for experts in socioeconomic post Russian literature. So maybe a few plans.Redditor u/Mahimah wanted the post college peeps out there to share with us, tell us which degrees may not be the most fruitful in the world. They asked.... College grads who discovered too late that your major is useless in the real world, what do you do now?
Hospitality Days<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTYyMS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjI4OTc1N30.zAUaff5TXrHYJcp-c2zymcGQHyPU03yVqW-0Aj42jjs/img.gif?width=980" id="683a4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7c3c00252f80ea78b43d11a3ec000fbf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="348" data-height="260" />diner dancing GIF by Justin TimberlakeGiphy<p>Working in a job I could've done with my high school degree and that I hate. 💔 </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimlvy0?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">Peaceuponfaith</a></p>
Head Games<p>Not exactly realized it was useless, just realized I couldn't do it. I was in Psychology. I went back to work for a while then ended up taking Computer Engineering and I'm now a software developer. I went back to school. The went back to work thing means in between I wasn't in school and was just working</p><p>I should add that job is what made me realize I should take Comp Eng. </p>
The Writer<p>I write emails for the functionally illiterate. I'm actually a personal assistant which is all you need to know. The only reason they'd pay me is the college degree and its name. I literally do get paid minimum wage but it's in a place where I can make that work with roommates. I don't know what else to say except I'm in the same place as so many! So don't be impressed. :)</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimk71p?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">titscorcher</a></p>
The Spotlight People....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTYyOS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODQ5NTAxMX0.7_z5ul2AVq7Egnm4HqMq7nB27qCy2jsOYm0q4GhGxTM/img.gif?width=980" id="6bc78" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5a610ce9cfe75ce71630d1399969dae0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="500" data-height="500" />acting jon lovitz GIFGiphy<p>Studied performing arts (film, tv and theatre) at a decent university.</p><p>Was working in theatre until Covid hit.</p><p>Now I make youtube videos about MMO games and twitch stream Runescape.</p><p>I actually manage to survive doing this. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gin734u?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">JoshStrifeHayes</a><span></span></p>
P & P<p>Degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy. Realized I hated research 4th year in but grinded through and finished it. Currently in management in manufacturing. Wouldn't say the degree was useless as it helps me in my interactions with my workers and building a good culture. Don't ever think a degree is useless just because you don't get a job in your field. You build learning habits and study methods which can be applied to anything in the future so just keep that in mind and be positive! </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gin5ui7?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iny12</a><span></span></p>
LIT....<p>English Lit Major.</p><p>I'm a gate attendant. Graveyard shift. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimqpi4?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">PM-your-reptile-pic</a></p><p>Have you considered writing content for websites? You know, the web pages that are really ads disguised as actual content that made the Internet a worse place. I hear the pay is OK, I would guess probably better than a gate attendants pay. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gindtc9?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">runaway-thread</a></p>
No Regrets....<p>I have a sociology degree! I don't think it's useless but many people do. I don't regret it. There's a decent amount of socially relevant marketable knowledge and skills.</p><p>I'm a healthcare worker and I love it. </p>
Crap Start....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY0OC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDEwMzk1M30.6PhZAyue_lAMpkHoZJTPmuPDlowi4Ax2gdONKB7i3e0/img.gif?width=980" id="eae20" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c96be4af1e134bc0b8cf83fbe234d47a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="500" data-height="282" />Episode 4 Hbo GIF by Curb Your EnthusiasmGiphy<p>Psychology major, got jobs in my field right out of school, but pay was pretty crap and no real room to move up without more school.</p><p>Went back and got my RN, made six figures straight out the door. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimy4b0?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank"> theducker</a><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/theducker/" target="_blank"></a></p>
3rd shift in....<p>Got an English/Film Studies degree, now I work 3rd shift as a deli stocker at a local supermarket chain. </p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimsisz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Zharan_Colonel</a></p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ktjuuc/college_grads_who_discovered_too_late_that_your/gimsisz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a><span></span>I have the same degree. I'm a buyer and customer assistant for an independent hardware store.</p><p>When I was at school I wrote about film quite frequently. My English teacher told me I should pursue it as a career. </p>
Teachers deserve more....<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NTY1NS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1ODk3ODE3MH0.jo15GV-q-Orq-P9CKGDvBlGkXTrPuZFHM2MTnc9eWBc/img.gif?width=980" id="624c3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4f57ca960c639a1c062ad483daf6ff63" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="400" data-height="225" />walton goggins hbo GIF by Vice Principals Giphy<p>I was originally majoring in earth and space science with a minor in education. </p>
Public marriage proposals are such emotional events, even passersby stop what they are doing to applaud the presumably happy couple.
The Ring<p>"I was dating a guy for two or three weeks (yes, weeks) and he proposed to me. With a ring he had bought for another woman. Which he told me as he was proposing. I said no and kind of slowly ghosted him because YIKES."</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi7eusr?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">thefiercestcalm</a><br></p>
Wasn't A Joke<p>"I guy a went on one date proposed to me because he wanted a green card. I thought he was joking at first. He wasn't. I said no and then goodbye forever"</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi8wqt4?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">azick545<br></a></p><p>"It was honestly hilarious. I was like at least put in some more effort, string me along, etc. But at least he made his feelings apparent quickly and I didn't have to worry anymore."</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi9m7a1?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">azick545</a><br></p>
If It Weren't For The Age Gap<p>"The class was pretty laid back so we were all mostly comfortable with each other. Hanging out chatting after class one day and he gets my attention and says, very matter of fact 'we should get married, here's why' and proceeds to list several reasons why. Some of his reasons were- I could drive his Jeep any time I wanted. It was a brand new Rubicon and I had an older grand cherokee so obviously I love jeeps. I could play music as loud as I wanted any time of day, wouldn't bother him. We would never fight because he couldn't hear me anyway. He had a job, collected disability pay, and had his own home so I would never have to work. I always looked so interested in what he had to say. That one was him picking on me because he knew I didn't know sign language."</p><p>"He said it would be perfect. I agreed with him that it did sound pretty great, except for the fact that he was the same age as my dad and that was weird."</p>
The Senior Player<p>"92 yr old man at a nursing home used to ask me and every other woman to Marry him daily. Had this whole sweet old man line 'your the most beautiful woman I've ever seen' , I would reply 'I just heard you say the same thing to that nurse,' 'but you're prettier.' Made me smile everytime. He had forgotten he was already married."</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi8br6l?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">damnit_jen</a><br></p>
White Water Rafting Followed By A Proposal<p>"A friend of mine in another city, had been trying to set me up with her male roommate. He, whom I had never met, had won tickets for white water rafting in BC... about 6 hours away for me, and 3 for him... we decided to do a weekend trip to meet (my friend insisted that he was cool... otherwise I never would have gone without knowing him for a while.<br>Anyways... I was *very* clear that we wouldn't be having sex, since we had just met, and he agreed, pointing out that he was strict Roman Catholic and would not have sex until married."</p><p>"First night we fooled around a bit, but nothing much.... went white water rafting the next day, had dinner and back to the room."<br></p><p>"He very excitedly tells me that he met a priest who was also staying at the hotel, and PROPOSES!!!! With complete seriousness!!"<br></p><p>"WTF!! Everything after that went rather poorly. He didn't understand why I wouldn't see him again after dropping him off at home."</p><p>"Did not change my life, other than have a good story...."</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi8swi6?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">DelicateIslandFlower</a><br></p>
Sweet Little Suitors<p>"I worked as a pre-k teaching assistant for a year. The head teacher was married so they called her Mrs. while I was not so they called me Ms. Eventually some of the kids noticed this difference and started asking why head teacher was Mrs. and I wasn't. We explained that she was married and I didn't have a husband. Upon hearing that one little boy loudly stated 'I will marry you! I want to be your husband!' I got 3 other proposals from 3 different 4 year olds that day. Definitely not a serious story, but one that always makes me smile :)"</p><p>– <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/kr2vcc/women_who_got_proposed_to_but_rejected_it_why_and/gi9hutp?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Careless-Shirt-5723</a><br></p>
The Deadbeat<p>"Okay, my first boyfriend. Started dating in high school, my end of 9th grade year, he was a senior. So he went off to college, lived 2 hours away. Cool, everything was cool. My junior year, he moves back to our hometown. Didn't talked about, I asked him about college. He just said he didn't want to go anymore, then I realize this guy can't commit to a job, like in high school I understood the slack. I ended things with him that summer before I went for my senior year."</p>
There's something seeing a person litter that drives me up the wall. I remember being a kid and being explicitly told to hold on to my trash and not just throw it in the street. As a kid, I distinctly remember being made fun of for not just throwing the bag of chips I'd just eaten or an empty soda bottle into the gutter.
I can't imagine doing that. Why?! We truly treat this planet as if we have somewhere else to go.
After Redditor pnrddt asked the online community, "What small action immediately makes you dislike a stranger?" people shared their observations.