100-year-old Mid-Michigan woman receives high school diploma - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

100-year-old Mid-Michigan woman receives high school diploma

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DAVISON (WJRT) - (06/02/14) - Eighty-seven years after a Mid-Michigan woman was forced to end her education, she has received her honorary high school diploma.

She's 100 years old and has always regretted not having her diploma.

Irene Schafer Williams was 13 when her father made her drop out of school. She wanted to become a teacher for the deaf, but never realized that dream.

Irene often lamented she never got her diploma, so a nephew contacted Davison High School.

"At her one-hundredth birthday, I actually got the idea to get her a diploma if I could from Davison," said her nephew, Mel Schafer.

Davison school officials were happy to comply. Her family invited her to lunch at Lucky's in Davison - that's where they sprung the surprise.

"I couldn't wait to get here. I was hoping she didn't figure it out," Mel said.

"An incredible life, very well deserved. We're very happy to do this," said Matt Shanafelt, Davison High School principal.

Irene, wearing a Davison graduation gown, received her diploma.

Her education was important to her. She attended classes in a one room school house in Richfield Township.

"I was an all-A student," she said.

But her father needed her on the farm. She says she was heartbroken.

Later, when one of her sons threatened to drop out of high school, she laid down the law.

"You're going to graduate. That was the end of that," she said.

Irene says she will display her diploma prominently in her Davison area home.

"It's a very good day for her. It's her day," Mel said.

At this point, Irene has no plans to attend college, but you never know. She values education so much, she just might do it.
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