85-Year-Old Grandmother Earns An Honorary High School Diploma

85-Year-Old Grandmother Earns An Honorary High School Diploma

85-year-old Shirley Smith has fulfilled her academic dreams.

Raised on a tobacco farm in Wilmington, NC, Smith eventually had to move to Somerville, NJ, because her father needed to earn more money to support the family of six children after tobacco rates fell, Fox News Digital reports. By this time, Smith had left her academics behind, leading her to fill her time with jobs, including at a dry cleaner and a pocketbook factory.

“I was going to the 10th grade, and I told him, the biggest mistake that I made, I think, was telling him that I didn’t want to go to school,” Smith told the outlet. “And he said, ‘Go to work.’”

Smith eventually had a family of her own and moved to Georgia. Although she considered vocational school, she never completed her studies as her days were spent caring for her growing family. Still, Smith instilled the importance of education in her home and required her children to finish school if they were to live under her roof.

“Matter of fact, they cried to go to school. Even when it was snowing, they wanted to go to school,” she said, according to Fox News Digital.

In a full-circle moment, Smith — in front of her children, grandchildren, and community — received an honorary high school diploma on her 85th birthday from Montezuma Police Chief Eric Finch.

“I’m thankful,” Smith, who now lives in Americus, GA, said to Fox News Digital. “I think it’s an honor, and I think it’s a blessing.”

Smith is recognized for her commitment to her family and her stance on education. Smith was also active in her community, working as a missionary to help the sick and poor.

Brianna Robinson, one of Smith’s granddaughters, said, “My nana never missed a high school or college graduation for any of her children or grandchildren. I couldn’t be more honored and inspired. She always taught us to chase our dreams, and all things are possible if you keep faith in God.”

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