99-year-old Italian gran passes school exam

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Francesca Careddu said she was too nervous to sleep the night before the exam. Exam hall photo: Shutterstock
16:23 CEST+02:00
A 99-year-old grandmother in Sardinia on Tuesday received her certificate for passing Italy's middle school exam, said to be a lifetime dream after she was taken out of education to work in her family's olive grove.

Francesca Careddu, born on 16 January 1915, was given the exam certificate during a ceremony at the Maccioni middle school in Nuoro.

Mayor Alessandro Bianchi presented the award, while school staff and students also turned out to celebrate the occasion, Il Secolo XIX reported. Careddu wept as she clutched her certificate, more than 80 years after she first lost the chance to take the test, the newspaper said.

“When I was little I was taken to the countryside to harvest the olives. There were a lot of things to do in the family and my parents took me out of school because my mother became ill,” she was quoted in Il Secolo XIX as saying.

“Then I was married and had eight children: some graduated, all my grandchildren graduated, it was only me that remained tormented by never having done the exam,” Careddu explained.

Despite the support of her entire family, who all came to the award ceremony, Careddu said she had a sleepless night ahead of the exam because she was so anxious.

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Sardinians are well-reputed for their longevity. Last year, a family in the island celebrated being named the oldest siblings in the world, with a combined age of 818. The head of the family, then aged 106, said her long life was “all down to minestrone”.

READ MORE: Sardinian family's tip for a long life: minestrone

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