"I am so grateful. It's better late than never, isn't it?" she said
Grace Lee Mclure Smith's high school graduation was 79 years in the making. The 94-year-old graduated from Hazel Green High School in a special honorary ceremony put together by one of her grandchildren, reported PEOPLE.
"I am so grateful. It's better late than never, isn't it?" she told WAAY-TV. Smith had apparently dropped out of Hazel Green High School at the age of 16 in 1942 after her husband went off to fight in World War II. Her granddaughter Erin Wilson, who helped arrange the ceremony, told the outlet, "She never ever mentioned regretting anything in life. She would never take it back because she absolutely loved my grandfather and that was just what she wanted to do, but I think this was very important to her," reported PEOPLE.
Even though she was not able to finish her degree, Smith always kept education close to her heart. She worked as a bus driver for the Madison County School System and ensured that students traveled safely. "She came back and for more than 30 years, she drove a school bus in Madison County, she served our students and got them safely to school and safely home for 30 years," Tim Hall, a school official, told CBS affiliate WHNT. Wilson, a teacher at Legacy Elementary School, said, "Growing up when I was in school, I actually rode her bus to and from school. She was a role model for a lot of kids and she's always telling the stories."
The school posted a picture of the new graduate posing in her cap and gown and wrote, "Congratulations, Mrs. Smith!". "I feel like I don't deserve it. There are a lot more people that are much more deserving than me. I'm just doing my job, love it. I love most of it most of the time. Good times!," Smith told WHNT., according to PEOPLE.