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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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100-year-old American teacher Agnes has no plans to give up the day job

At Sundance School, New Jersey, it’s ok to call your teacher Granny.

Image: CBS News

YOU’RE ONLY AS old as you feel and that’s one thing 100-year-old Agnes  Zhelesnik knows all too well.

The Home Economics teacher reached the milestone birthday on Sunday and revealed that she has no plans to let her age get in the way of her passion for educating young people.

“See my two legs? They still move”, she told CBS News reporter Steve Hartman when he headed along to the Sundance School in North Plainfield, New Jersey, to meet the woman who’s known to her students as ‘Granny’.

Source: CBS Sunday Morning

Those same students, friends and family (including daughter Agnes Arakelian, who just so happens to be her colleague too) gathered at the school on Sunday to celebrate the big birthday but Agnes told The Star Ledger that she didn’t realise it was such a big deal:

I didn’t know that 100 meant so much. To me it’s just the next birthday. It just happens. Every year happens. They did all this,
so I’m going to live with it.

Agnes is no stranger to media attention though. She made the headlines on ABC News back in 2011 for still ‘doing her thing’ at the age of 97, having only started teaching at the age of 81.

Source: CBS News

Born in 1914, Zhelesnik had to leave school during the Great Depression to take a job soldering cans. She eventually went on to get her high school diploma at night school but her husband wanted her to stay home with the children, so it took about 60 years for her to realise her dream.

Agnes is a huge hit with the children and Principal Benjamin Fox didn’t hold back when singing her praises. “She is an icon in this school” he told MyCentralJersey.com.

“Besides the fact that she feeds everyone and makes the school smell wonderful, she just makes everybody smile” he added. “They are always hugging her. It’s like a family and she is the granny of our family.”

With a surprise birthday message from Barack Obama in the bag, Agnes will be back in her classroom first thing this morning.

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