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NJ Celebrates America’s Oldest Living Teacher

In a testament to the phrase “Jersey Strong,” America’s oldest living teacher still holds class five days a week, right in North Plainfield.

Agnes Zhelesnik is a home economics teacher at the Sundance Grade School, and on Sunday she turned 100 years old.

The students call her “Granny” and as one child described:

she’s very, very, very, very old.


agnes 2
Agnes Zhelesnik, teacher in North Plainfield and America’s oldest living teacher (CBS News)

One must ask themselves, how can this woman teach for so long and not get burned out? The answer is simple. Agnes didn’t start her career until she was 81.

Her husband didn’t approve of her working and preferred she raise the children, so she was a homemaker. After she raised her children, Agnes helped raise her grandchildren. After that it was marathon sessions of bridge, which she admits, got old.

Still feeling young, Agnes began her teaching career 19 years ago at age 81. A true inspiration, the North Plainfield teacher is so dedicated to her children that she hasn’t called out sick since age 98.

In an interview with CBS News, the century old Agnes Zhelesnik summed up her drive and dedication for teaching after all these years

What else is there in life? Children make the whole world.


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