Tatay Carlos Earns Inspiring HS Diploma at 72, Vows to Keep Pursuing Dreams

Against all odds, 72-year-old Carlos Saladaga achieved his lifelong dream of earning a high school diploma this July. While most people his age are retired, Saladaga embarked on an inspirational educational journey that challenged stereotypes and proved it’s never too late to learn.

Saladaga, affectionately known as “Tatay Carlos” or “ALO”, graduated from Daantabogon National High School on July 11th, 2023. He enrolled in the school’s General Academic Strand program under the Alternative Learning System along with 44 other students.

Hailing from the rural village of Muabog in Cebu, Saladaga overcame financial struggles and ageist discrimination in pursuit of knowledge. He was the only one among his childhood friends who didn’t receive formal schooling in his youth. This fueled his motivation as an adult to achieve what he regrettably missed out on as a boy.

According to his former teacher Lymar Cueva, Saladaga was an exemplary student – eager, hardworking, and always actively participating in class. If he ever had confusion about a lesson, he would ask thoughtful questions to clarify his understanding.

When Cueva asked why he pursued education so relentlessly at his advanced age, Saladaga replied that he wanted to set a powerful example for the youth. He hoped to inspire them by showing that education is for everyone regardless of age or background.

“I want the young people today to see that it’s never too late to educate ourselves,” Saladaga explained. “If I can go to school at my old age, then they who are still so young can certainly do it too. And they can use what they learn in school to shape their futures.”

Now armed with his long-awaited diploma, Saladaga has bold plans for the future. He aspires to become an agriculturist one day, combining his passion for organic farming with the chance to help and uplift his fellow farmers.

Saladaga offered wisdom for others who stopped their schooling along the way: “Whatever your goals are in life, keep studying and learning. You have to endure and push forward.”

At 72 years young, Carlos Saladaga is an inspiration. His story demonstrates that age should never be a barrier to education and growth. With perseverance and purpose, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

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