A 106-year-old woman finally gets her high school diploma after the Mount Vernon Board of Education has issued the 106-year-old woman’s diploma earlier this month. The 106-year-old woman whose high school diploma is long overdue, about 87 years, is Reba Williams.
According to a Feb. 28, 2013, Mansfield News Journal report, Reba Williams was born on Jan. 23, 1907, and should have received her high school diploma in 1925 or 1926 since she had completed all 12 years of high school.
Reba was born in Germantown, Pa., and when she was a child, her family moved to Mount Vernon. Seventy-eight-year-old Lavata Williams, the 106-year-old woman’s daughter, tells the story of her mother and why she was denied a high school diploma even though she had completed all 12 years.
Reba Williams didn’t get her high school diploma because she refused to read a book and do a book report on a book that “was not worth reading.”
The now 106-year-old woman often tells the story that she had read the book already once and “didn’t like it and wasn’t going to read it again.”
Even after the school asked her to read the book over the summer and write a book report, for Reba Williams, the book just wasn’t worth it; -- and so she never received her high school diploma.
After 87 years, someone didn’t just listen to the 106-year-old woman’s story but took action.
“Fred Dailey of Mount Vernon, who served for 16 years at the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said his wife Rita, a retired English teacher at Mount Vernon High School, approached the board about bestowing the diploma to Williams after reading a News Journal story earlier this year.”
“It seemed like a nice thing to do and although I never knew her personally it seemed like something that was overdue,” Fred Dailey said.
When Reba Williams heard from her daughter that she would finally get her high school diploma after 87 years, the 106-year-old woman’s response was accompanied by "her typical sense of humor" and a “That’s nice.” The 106-year-old woman’s sister, 92-year-old Jayne Prince also laughed.
It appears that in addition to being “always strong minded and straight to the point,” Reba Williams and her sister have been blessed with a great sense of humor.
It would be interesting to ask the 106-year-old woman who is finally getting her high school diploma what she thought had been more important during the 106 years of her life; -- having a high school diploma or a healthy sense of humor.