At 96 years old, Lupita Palacios is working toward earning her high school diploma. Growing up, she didn’t have much of an interest in school and her parents thought it “was a waste of time.” So young Lupita – a member of an indigenous community in Ocozocoautla in the state of Chiapas – opted out of school. But it was seeing the titles on newspapers – in its bold, black letters – that made her want to learn to read. “I would look for any little thing, seeing if I could decipher [the message,] she told El País. And from there, she became passionate about school. She earned her middle school degree in six months, and now she’s on to the next chapter.
For Lupita, school has helped her connect with Mexican history. “Through my studies, I can learn the history of Mexico,” she said. “The history of Chiapas that I have personally lived through: the suffering, the failures, and the poverty.” Lupita – who has also learned to write – is an inspiration to her six children and dozens of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.
“I feel very good, as you can see,” she said. “As I say, little by little I’m learning to see how I can serve on this holy land at my 96 years of age. No one is going to give me a job… The truth is that I want to keep studying, so that I can keep learning about the ley de la vida.”
Check out a short video profile on her below: