Never too late to learn

They say it's never too late to go back to school. And while thousands of children around Kern County are ringing in a new school year, so is a 91-year-old Bakersfield man.
BAKERSFIELD, CA -- They say it's never too late to go back to school. And while thousands of children around Kern County are ringing in a new school year, so is a 91-year-old Bakersfield man.

Roberto Martinez has never been to school when he was young. Because his father died when he was eight and he had to start working. Now at 91, he's starting the fifth grade.

"One of my great nephews, Grey, he says, 'grandpa we're in the same grade!'" said Martinez's daughter, Carmen Owen.

The great-grandfather of five started kindergarten at Bakersfield Adult School ten years ago to keep himself busy after his wife passed away. His daughter has been taking him to school every day ever since.

"Sometimes it's a little difficult and he'll stay in the same grade but 91-years-old, he's going and he tries," Owen said.

His health has forced Martinez to miss a few days, but aside from that, he has near perfect attendance. Right now, he's studying English as a second language.

"I feel good to be in the school and with these people in the school we talk in English most of the time," Martinez said.

Martinez's teacher, Barbara Kitchen, says he enjoys the company of the younger crowd. But his passion and punctuality have been an inspiration to his younger classmates.

"He's one of the first students at my door every morning and if I'm late he's looking at his clock at his wrist watch," Kitchen said.

While Father Time might be working against him, Martinez says age should never impact one's desire to learn.

"Some people don't want to learn and they'll use their age as an excuse not to learn something that's structurally good," Martinez said.

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