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Retired Mechanic Proves You're "Never Too Old" To Learn

Updated: May 8, 2019

L to R: Carol Mausteller, Work Ready Coordinator; Karen Reber, Adult and Parenting Coordinator; Dale Kratzer; Haleigh Lapp, Family Coordinator

“You'd be surprised at how many people told me I’m too old to get my diploma,” remarked Dale Kratzer of Port Trevorton while celebrating the good news that he passed his HiSET tests last week with CAA staff.

Dale, 62 (“and a half”), checked another thing off his bucket list this winter after he passed his HiSET tests with flying colors. A retired mechanic, he has dedicated his entire life to learning. He began working full time at the age of 15 at an industrial sewing company to support his family. From there, he’s had jobs in coal mining, excavating, and most recently auto mechanics.

“After seeing how a huge lay off affected employees at a factory near me, I promised myself to learn enough to never be out of a job,” he commented.

Dale came to CAA at the beginning of September, 2018, with a mission to get his diploma. Over the course of five months, he never missed a single day of studying with Karen, Adult and Parenting Education Coordinator. His favorite subject was history, which was evident by his consistent high scores in social studies.

Although Dale has always found a way to support himself through employment, he acknowledges that times are changing and having a diploma is now more important than ever to finding a job. “If I end up looking for another job, I need my diploma,” he said. “These days, most job applications are online, and you can’t even submit an application without checking that you have a high school education.”

Dale’s bucket list is looking quite accomplished these days, as he’s checked off seeing both Olivia Newton John and Sara Evans in concert, and now, earned his diploma.

What’s next on his list? He’s not sure, but we have a feeling it will be a story worth telling.



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