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People Are Awesome: 106-Year-Old Woman Finally Receives High School Diploma People Are Awesome: 106-Year-Old Woman Finally Receives High School Diploma

People Are Awesome: 106-Year-Old Woman Finally Receives High School Diploma

by Liz Dwyer

March 3, 2013


Reba Williams has been waiting a long time to receive her high school diploma—nearly nine decades. The 106-year-old completed all the required classes at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Ohio, but because she refused to read a book a teacher assigned her, she was denied her diploma.

Her daughter, 78-year-old Lavata Williams told the Mansfield News Journal that the school was even willing to give her mother the diploma in the summer after the graduation ceremonies—she would have graduated in either 1925 or 1926—if she'd just read the book and written a report. But, her mother refused. She "said the book was not worth reading and she’d already read it once and didn’t like it and wasn’t going to read it again,” Lavata said. "My grandmother told me the story more than once."

Rita Dailey, a now-retired English teacher at the high school heard about William' story and approached the Mount Vernon Board of Education about giving Williams her diploma. Last month the board agreed. It hasn't been determined, however, whether they're going to give it to her in-person or by mail.

The title of the book Williams refused to read wasn't mentioned, but it makes you wonder, what text it was that she despised so much? It must have been something really offensive for her to stick to her guns. And now she'll finally receive what she worked so hard for all those years ago.

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