College graduation is a pretty big moment in the lives of most 20-somethings, but for 70-year-old Tap Van Kieu, walking across the stage to collect his degree was absolutely monumental. And he made sure it was a moment to remember.
A photo of Kieu holding up a sign he held at commencement went viral after viral news site Unilad shared it on Facebook earlier this month.
The photo shows a clearly elated Kieu holding up the poster proudly showing a timeline of his major life events -- including getting married, becoming a father and even a grandfather before realizing the dream of earning a degree.
A comment from a fellow classmate at Virginia Commonwealth University helped identify Kieu.
Kieu's daughter, Mary Kieu, told The Huffington Post that Kieu fled Vietnam in 1975 during the fall of Saigon, with his wife, Kim, and their three young children.
Once in the U.S., he attended community college in his 30s and worked many jobs, from being a mail carrier, a bus driver and small business owner. But after retiring at 65, he found himself looking for another challenge.
"He's never been the kind of guy who could be idle for more than an afternoon," Mary Kieu told The Huffington Post in an email. "So he decides he wants to pursue his dream to finish college."
It's been his dream, Mary says, to teach choral singing to children -- and it was also important for him to have his 5-year-old grandson, Oliver, watch him graduate.
"I would describe dad's story as one of so many other immigrants who are lucky enough to call this wonderful country home," Mary said. "Work hard, believe in yourself, never give up, and even at the ripe age of 70, you can reach your goal."
If his enthusiasm is any indicator, we're sure Kieu will go on and do great things, too. Just another powerful and inspiring reminder that you're never too old to accomplish your dreams.
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