A Century Of Wisdom

Although he took up reading a bit late in life, George Dawson is bringing a century of wisdom to his studies and his teachers. CBS News Correspondent Robert McNamara reports.

In a Dallas school Friday, they celebrated a student's birthday. George Dawson turned 101 years old.

Each year, George Dawson's birthday party is not about the fact that he's lived so long. It's about what he has done with his life.

It was three years ago when CBS first met him. At 98 years old, Dawson decided he'd gone long enough without learning to read or write.

Teacher Carl Henry remembers Dawson's first day.

"I said, 'Well, now, do you know your ABCs?' He said, 'I don't know nuthin'.' He said, 'I'm gonna have to start from scratch.' So we started from scratch," said Henry.

Today, Henry is still at Dawson's side, teaching and learning.

"Actually, he's changed my life. He's changed all the people's lives around me," said Henry.

George Dawson can now read aloud from his beloved Bible.

"I guess I was 20, 21 years old before I realized that he couldn't really read," says Dawson's son, George Dawson Jr.

He says his father has thrilled the family.

"You know, after a certain age, most people just relax, and he still has the stamina to fight," says George Jr.

"I'm getting old. My eyes are getting bad," says Dawson.

Reading glasses may help him see. But his mind and his memory are clear.

He remembers the tragic sinking of the Titanic. "That was in the year 1912. Fourteenth day of April. That's when the Titanic sunk. I was a big boy then," says Dawson.

Reported By Robert McNamara
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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