PARIS, IL – In tonight’s dose of good news… One woman isn’t letting her age keep her from doing something she’s always wanted to do: Graduate high school.
Now at the age of 102, she’s the newest member of the class of 2021.
After being forced to drop out of high school decades ago due to a severe illness, 102 year-old Gladys Wright received her diploma Wednesday in an honorary ceremony.
Gladys arrived in style to her high school graduation where she was recognized by school officials, community members, and law makers.
“A month or two ago, she said, we were sitting at the kitchen table and we got the text again. I said, ‘Mom do you want to get your diploma?’ and she said, ‘Sure.'” Says Sandy Templeton.
Gladys didn’t let her age detract her from reaching a goal that she had for years.
“It’s an honor for us to be able to recognize Gladys. We have a local community citizen who has been through a lot in her life and I think she’s a role model for everyone to recognize that learning does not stop at a certain age. That there is dignity and respect held in education.” Says Dr. Jeremy Larson.
Gladys is a giver. But this time, she had to take this opportunity.
“Now she’s at an age where she wanted to do something for herself. So we have a lot of respect for that she took that initiative at this age and that she did it. Two of her specific wishes were that one that today she’d have the opportunity to turn her tassel, and the other one is that she wanted everyone to recognize that this is not an honorary diploma due to her age, this is a diploma that she earned.” Says Dr. Larson.
Now a high school graduate, Gladys hopes to see other follow her footsteps.
“If you or any of your friends have not finished their high school diploma, you tell them to get after it because it’s well worth it. When you’ve got that diploma, they can’t say you don’t have it because you don’t know enough.” Says Gladys.
As much as she loved this experience, one subject did giver her a little trouble.
“Well I kinda enjoyed math. That was a lot of fun. But that English I didn’t like it when I was in high school and I still cant say I like it.” Says Gladys.
Gladys was surrounded by family and friends during Wednesday’s big event. She also received the key to the city of Paris from the mayor and Wednesday was also designated as Gladys Wright Day in Paris.