This grandmother was forced to drop out of high school at age 17, but finally received her diploma 79 years later!
For individuals like Margaret Thome Bekema, finishing high school was a dream she didn’t think would ever come true. Instead of graduating from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High in 1936 like she was supposed to, she dropped out to take care of her siblings and her mother who was sick with cancer. People might argue that she had a choice, but really, she didn’t.
Fortunately, the 97-year-old doesn’t have to meet life’s end with the regret that she didn’t finish high school. 79 years after she was supposed to graduate, Bekema received an honorary high school diploma, courtesy of a distant relative.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I had to quit school to take over the family. It was hard, you have no idea how hard that was. I loved high school and I had lots of friends.”
Central Principal Greg Deja, who awarded her with the honorary diploma, added:
“her life has been one of sacrifice and service. It has been so encouraging and inspiring for our community because her choices represent all the core values that we teach our students.”
In many second and third-world countries, children can’t go to school either because their families lack the funds for uniforms and books, or because their services are required at home. This is a huge setback for their personal progression, as well as their communities, as education truly is the greatst asset in changing one’s self and the world. Remember this next time you – or someone you know – complains about ‘having’ to go to school. Education is gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
97-year-old Margaret Bekema burst into tears when she was presented with a graduation cap.
79 years after leaving high school to take care of her family, she finally received her diploma.
The grandmother was forced to leave school at age 17 to care for her siblings and sick mother.
She was presented with an honor diploma by Principal Greg Deja.
They even dated it the year she would have graduated…
Now, Bekema doesn’t need to live with this regret.
She was even awarded a high school letter!
Watch the news report below:
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