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Queens youngest and eldest students share a passion for learning

At just 17, Charlotte Story has already been enrolled at Queens for three years.

At 69, Harvey Gossett has been enrolled for five years.  

Today, they are Queens' youngest and eldest undergraduate students.  Despite their generational differences they share a love for learning and an appreciation of the liberal arts focus at Queens.

Charlotte was just 14 when she asked her parents to let her study Italian at Queens.  There was something captivating about the language, she says, and she was able to fit a course into her academic schedule because she was homeschooled.

"I was just a little nervous that first semester, but the students were very accepting and my professor was willing to challenge me," she remembers. "It shocked people when they realized that I was years younger than they were, but they thought it was exciting. I think it helped that they knew I was serious about learning the language and about the culture. I've always been pretty mature in that sense."

She enjoyed the class so much that she enrolled in more courses the next semester and has been at Queens ever since. She's taken courses including biology, environmental science, chemistry, microcomputing, advanced Italian and pre-calculus.

"The academic rigor at Queens is wonderful," Charlotte says. "The faculty are great, and the setting is beautiful. It's an ideal place for someone who loves to learn and wants to be challenged"

While she's technically a high school senior she has enough college credits to enter next fall as a junior. "I'm applying to a few universities and of course Queens is on my list," she says. "I love it here."

Outside the classroom she's kept busy with club memberships and has made good friendships with classmates. She's considering a career in medicine, like her parents, but says she'd also like to work in human and community services, probably abroad.

Harvey Gossett first enrolled in college in New York back in 1960. Along the way he got married and had children, and started a successful career in business. He took classes whenever he could, but life as a family man and a businessman was usually too full.

Fast forward to 1998, when he moved his textile manufacturing company to the Charlotte region.  After he sold it in 2006 he decided to semi-retire, and enrolled at Queens.

"It was my top bucket list objective to get my degree and I went at it taking six to nine credits at a time," he says.  He will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in history.

He credits Dr. Dick Goode and Dr. Charlie Reed as examples of what he calls "a first-class faculty."

"Being at Queens has been so stimulating, and it helps keep me young," he says. "It's invigorating to be surrounded by people who are younger than my kids. Being an adult learner is a big plus because I bring more life experience to class discussions. But younger students bring a completely different perspective so I learn from them, too." 

There has also been a learning curve in regard to technology, he says.

In his free time Harvey volunteers with Misty Meadows Mitey Riders, a nonprofit organization that provides equestrian therapy for children with disabilities.

"Earning my degree will be an accomplishment that has taken me more than 50 years to achieve," Harvey says. "I'll definitely celebrate, but I'm already thinking about more courses I want to take! Maybe I need to sit back for just a little while and enjoy things I want to read for pleasure and not just for classes first. I've forgotten what that feels like and I'm looking forward to experiencing that again."


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