NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk native Alice Robinson recently celebrated her 80th birthday, and she jokes her family, a big one of about 60, has planned something for each of the roughly 80 days surrounding the milestone.

“I don’t know how many more days I can take this, but I’ll go along with them,” joked Alice, whose birthday was earlier this month.

She’s had a dance and dinners, a serenade at Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, and even was recognized by Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin for her contributions to Norfolk and Tidewater Community College.

“That was exciting,” Alice said about the recognition. “I’m special! I said ‘how in the world does anyone decide, even with our great databases, how do you find just one person who’s turning 80 and then get these letters from the state? It was exciting.”

Alice still works at TCC two decades after coming aboard. In fact, she was just named TCC’s Wage Employee of the Year for 2022.

On Monday at her office in TCC’s Arts and Humanities department on Granby Street, family members from four generations added yet another surprise in coming by to honor her.

Alice Robinson (right and members of her family honor her on Feb. 13, 2023, at her office at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk

“I don’t feel any different … yet,” Alice said when asked how it feels to be 80. “I’m still working and enjoying it every day.”

What keeps her coming back?

“A check of course,” she laughed, later acknowledging she’s still here because she wants to be, not because she has to.

“On a serious note, I like what I do, I enjoy it. I work with a very good team, we all get along very well, so I’m enjoying working at 80.”

Chrystonia Cooper, one of Alice’s six children, reached out to 10 On Your Side praising her mother’s achievements as not only a parent to her six children (and dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren), but to the numerous students at TCC she’s helped on their path to graduation.

Alice Robinson hugs her one of her great-grandchildren after being surprised at her office on Feb. 13, 2023, at TCC in Norfolk.

“She has worked hard, and sometimes we didn’t even see our momma because she was working two jobs to try to take care of us,” Cooper said.

Alice says she came to TCC originally as a student back in the early 1970s and is an alumna of TCC’s Administrative Support Technology program. She would work for Norfolk’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management at Norfolk State University — at the age of 69.

“Her favorite words are ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste,'” Cooper said about her mother’s lifelong learning. “She’s proven that over and over again … she’s always trying to get us to stay in school, and go back to school …”

Alice started her tenure at TCC in computer information, and went to student IDs for about 14 years before finally landing at her gig today as an administrative assistant in the dean’s office.

“I give her a hug every morning that I come in,” says Thomas Chatman, Norfolk Campus Dean and Dean of Student Support Services. “We just have some really great conversations, she keeps me encouraged, motivated, and I love her wisdom and I look forward to seeing her everyday.”

Alice says she does think about retirement “here and yonder,” but at this time it sure seems like she’s still having fun, especially when there are many more surprises (at least 73?) still to come.