A 97-year-old grandmother from Walker, Mich. finally received her high school diploma last week. She was not able to finish school 80 years ago since she had to fulfill more important tasks for her family. Margaret Thome Bekema received her diploma from Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. Her school honored her as an alumna of 1936.
"How can I express myself?" Bekema said, according to Fox News. "I don't know how to express my thanks."
Crying, she added, "I'm sorry. I'm just plain chicken."
Bekema was not able to finish her junior year in high school since her mother had cancer. As the eldest, she was the one who took the role of a guardian for her three younger siblings, Associated Press reported.
She accepted her diploma in front of friends and family at the Yorkshire and Stonebridge Manor, a community for the elderly located in Walter.
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"After all of these years, representing all of the core values for which our school stands, we proudly recognize Margaret with an official honorary diploma," Catholic Central High School's Principal Greg Deja said, according to USA Today.
Bekema left school when she was 17 years old and became a clerical worker for the United States' armed forces and then became a preschool teacher.