At 106 years old, Reba Williams is easily the oldest woman to ever graduate from high school.
Williams, a former cook, received her diploma on Wednesday in a special ceremony at her apartment in Columbus, Ohio. Superintendant Steve Short presented the diploma to her in person.
Even though Williams completed all 12 years at Mount Vernon high school, she never officially graduated, supposedly because she refused to read a book a teacher assigned. She had already read it, didn’t like it, and didn’t want to read it again, according to her daughter, Lavata.
Williams’ situation recently received renewed attention after an article in the News Journal. A retired high school English teacher at Mount Vernon, Rita Daily, approached the board of education about the possibility to awarding Williams her diploma.
Her request was unanimously approved on February 18, 2013, and short was the one to give her the news.
“I get to do a lot of things in education that I enjoy, but this is something I really enjoy,” Short said. “Congratulations, Reba, you are the top of your class. You’ve taught us a lot.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, isn’t that wonderful,” was Williams’ response.
After the “ceremony,” Williams offered some life advice to those that were in attendance.
“It’s according to how much you learn,” she said. “You can use it or not. I was learning all the time. I liked to learn everything. In high school, I took everything that I could.”
She added that even though she wasn’t able to graduate, she still enjoyed school and listed math as her favorite subject.