103-year-old Brooklyn woman’s birthday is celebrated with 470 wishes

May 16, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Last weekend, a 103-year-old Brooklyn Sheepshead Bay woman received a pleasant surprise, arranged by her son, who lives in England.

Kingsborough Community College alumna Fran Koch, a donor and co-founder of the My Turn Program, received a surprise package from the many people who know her at the college as well as students from P.S. 206, which is also in the Sheepshead Bay area.

The My Turn Program offers older adults an opportunity to attend college tuition-free. The registration fee includes two semesters. New York State residents 60 years of age or older are qualified to attend classes as non-matriculating students. In a YouTube video, Koch says she got involved in the program after her husband died.

Fran’s son, Jeff Malter, emailed the My Turn Program a couple of weeks ago and said: “My mum was a key volunteer in the My Turn program for many years. We have this idea. We thought of sending my mum, Fran Koch, 103 birthday cards. Her birthday is May 15, and she will be 103 years old. 

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“But for us to send her that many cards would cost over £300 for the cards and postage. We live in England. So we had this idea of getting 100 of our friends to each send her one card. That would be a small bit of kindness for Fran,” he wrote.

The KCC Office of the President went to work getting the call out for cards. President Claudia Schrader hand-delivered the birthday cards to Fran, explaining her son’s request. 

“I’m sorry,” Schrader teased a shocked Fran. “We didn’t receive 103 birthday cards. We received 470 birthday cards.”

“I thought somebody was pulling my leg when they said the president of Kingsborough was here,” said Fran.

“It was a beautiful honor. I know it was Fran’s special day, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I walked away feeling very blessed,” Schrader said.

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