Storms, who will receive an Associate of Arts in History, earned her degree at Northwestern State’s Leesville/Fort Polk campus.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” said Storms. “Taking classes has been a wonderful experience for me. I have gotten so much pleasure out of learning and I have found out how much I don’t know.”
Storms first started college in 1944 at Texas State College for Women, now Texas Women’s University. A year later, she left college and married William Gale Storms in 1946. The Storms started a family and she worked at Southwestern Bell Telephone as a switchboard operator. Her husband finished his teaching degree at Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State University-San Marcos.
In the 1950s, she became an army wife, living throughout the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. While caring for their two children, Storms worked at various jobs including a stint as an intelligence decoder in Tokyo. She was also a volunteer with the Girl Scouts and the American Cancer Society.
After her husband retired from the military, Storms worked as a bookkeeper and a licensed real estate broker, serving as president of the Toledo Bend Board of Realtors. She was also active in the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Louisiana, which honored her as “Nike” Woman of the Year in 1990 and State President in 1993.
After her husband passed away, Storms decided to back to college.
“After I lost my husband, I felt lost,” she said. “I kind of got isolated for a while and going back to college helped me get more active again.”
Storms took advantage of a Northwestern State program that allows those 60 or over to take one 3-hour course tuition free.
“I started taking history under Dr. Kathleen Smith and it really started an interest for me,” said Storms. “She is such a wonderful teacher, who provides so much information and has a great concern for her students.”
Storms said Smith mentored, guided and encouraged her as she not only honed research and writing skills to create papers each semester, but also tackled the challenges computer technology poses. Fellow students were also a help to her.
“I couldn’t believe how wonderful the other students were,” said Storms. “I didn’t know how they would react to me, but they took to me right away and I made some great friends.”