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Santa Barbara Octogenarian earns Doctorate degree

A Santa Barbara octogenarian is living proof that age is just a number.

Angela Bell, 87, graduated on June 28 with her Doctorate of Spiritual Science from the Los Angeles-based Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy. She had to adjust to an online curriculum and completed classes that were streamed from Los Angeles.

“My doctorate is my journey of turning a life of burdens into a life of blessings,” Bell said.”That doctorate means so much to me. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I said. ‘Well, let’s give it a try.'”

Formal education was once a far off dream for Bell, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up during the Great Depression.

Bell, who has dyslexia, didn’t graduate from high school until she was 40-years-old.

After raising her children, Bell went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Bell attributes her recent academic success to her living situation.

Bell is a 22-year resident of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s Villa Santa Fe Apartments which offers affordable units for low-income seniors. Bell lives off of a meager monthly social security check.

“I have to be able to live with dignity paying all of my bills and with people who honor me,” Bell said.

Bell said she has not decided which challenge to tackle next. For now, she is just grateful for what she has been able to accomplish.

“I’ve been in service most of my life.” Bell said. “The Doctorate is for me, really for me.”

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