71-year-old graduates college, simultaneously teaches at same college while getting degree

Woman graduates college at 71

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - At 71-years-old, she wears the title of cosmetology teacher, but for the last few years shes also been in the role of the student. Now, with more than 50 years of experience under her belt, and scissors in her hand, Hazeline Dye joins the graduating class of 2019 at Gaston College.

“It was an adventure for me. I never in million years thought I’d be going back to school at my age.”

Dye is 71 years old, but her colleagues at Gaston College’s school of Cosmetology say you would never know it.

“Don’t let her age fool you," says co-worker and instructor Sandy Sinclair.

Dye’s been a beginner cosmetology instructor at Gaston College going on 11 years, with nearly 50 years of experience.

“The students love her, and they can see that she has that passion," says Sinclair.

But in 2010, community college rules changed, requiring instructors to have or be working towards at least an associates degree.

“They wanted all the instructors to have a degree if the students are getting a degree, which is only right," explained Dye.

So that’s exactly what Dye did. She enrolled in the very college that she was teaching and still teaches at today.

“With me going to class, and my students being in the class with me, it was great because it was like I could teach them in someone elses class," says Dye. “I kept pushing, I was going to drop out, they said ‘no you’re not, you’re not dropping out.”

Seventy-four course credits and nine years later, Dye is walking across the stage with her associates degree in Cosmetology in hand.

(Source: Hazeline Dye)
(Source: Hazeline Dye)

“I never, in a million years thought I’d be graduating from college," says Dye. “I’m 71 and I did it so, that’s what made me feel good, even my students they’d say, you can do it Mrs. Dye, and I said you know what, I sure can.”

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