97-Year-Old 'Guardian Angel' Goes On Field Trip With Local Schoolchildren

05/11/2015 10:24 am ET | Updated May 11, 2015

You’re never too old to be a student.

Vivian Bailey is 97 years of age, and just went on her first school field trip with an elementary school to Washington, D.C. Bailey grew up in the 1920s in Oklahoma and went to a segregated school that did not allow her to go on field trips. As a result of the opportunities she missed, she has dedicated over a decade of her life to raising money for the students of Running Brook Elementary School in Columbia, Maryland, for field trips.

"When people say 'How many children do you have?' with a straight face I say '300 and something,'" Bailey said.

The school calls Mrs. Bailey as its "guardian angel," and has dedicated a bench in front of the school to her, where she sits each day. Her recent trip with a fourth-grade class to the nation’s capital was a long time coming.

I thought this is really special for our kids but I kept thinking how special it must be for Mrs. Bailey also to experience a field trip with school children -- the children that she loves so much,” said Running Brook teacher, Melissa Peyton.

“At any age you can learn and have new experiences,” Bailey said. “So to me this was a very rewarding one.”

Ninety-year-old Priscilla Sitienei had a similar rewarding educational experience at a late age. Like Bailey, she did not have certain opportunities as a child and pursued her interests much later in life. After working as a midwife for decades, Sitienei enrolled at Leaders Vision Preparatory School in her village of Ndalat, Kenya, five years ago, BBC News reported.

"She is loved by every pupil, they all want to learn and play with her," said David Kinyanjui, the school's principal.

Monuments in Washington D.C.
Suggest a correction