At 102 years young, Agnes Zhelesnik is not your typical centenarian. She is so active and independent that doctors say “she has the heart of a 40-year-old woman.” And she’s not showing signs of slowing down. Every single day, she gets up and goes to work. She teaches cooking and sewing to preschool and elementary-aged students at The Sundance School in North Plainfield, NJ.
According to the video report below, Zhelesnik is the oldest teacher in America. And if that isn’t impressive enough, she didn’t even begin her teaching career until she was 80, when her daughter, an art teacher at the same school came to her with the suggestion that she help out in the school cafeteria. After spending her life as a housewife, she was very excited about the prospect and accepted an open position as the home economics teacher later on. That’s amazing!
“Granny,” the nickname she goes by while at school, loves her job as much today as she did when she began working. She says that her simple but insightful secret to her long career is nothing more than happiness. “This is happiness for me. I don’t get tired when I’m happy.”
“Granny is a beam of light, this gentle strength, and warmth that emanates from her at all times. We have this incredible opportunity to be in her presence and to be able to learn from her,” says W.J. O’Reilly, the school’s principal.
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