Alden Horizon resident Loretta Parker recently graduated from Waubonsie Community College with a degree in Applied Science-Administrative Assistant. She was also their ‘featured student” for 2015.

“If the body is able and the brain is alert, one should continue to be productive,” says 81-year-old Parker, who thinks age is just a number.

Loretta was a single mom with two young daughters to raise during the height of the Civil Rights movement. She managed to find work and eventually ended up at what was then Northern Illinois Gas, where she did everything from accounting to information systems.

She enrolled at what was then Aurora College, and in 1973 earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Then in 1985, she earned a master’s certificate in Organizational Behavior from George Williams College.

Loretta married John Parker at the age of 50. They moved to Alden Horizon in 2007 and were immediately embraced by the community. Loretta’s skill at creating beautiful crafts – including quilted bags people could hang on walkers – earned her much attention. John eventually became quite ill with diabetes and coronary issues and Loretta became his caregiver. John died in 2013, and Loretta wondered what she was going to do with the rest of her life.

She ended up going to Waubonsie, where she excelled in and outside of the classroom. Steven Skaggs, professor of Business and Information Systems, describes her as “one of the brightest students” he’s ever had in his classes. She is now looking for a position that will utilize her newly acquired skills.

Congratulations, Loretta!