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94-year-old woman receives high school diploma at Hazel Green High School

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One 94-year-old Madison County woman celebrated a big accomplishment - finally receiving her high school diploma.

The graduation ceremony took place at Hazel Green High School. The room was full of great-grandchildren, siblings, and other family members who all came together to celebrate the accomplishments of Grace Lee McClure Smith.

"I am so grateful, thank you so much. It's better late than never, isn't it," says Grace.

For Grace, her high school graduation has been a long time coming. 79 years to be exact. She dropped out of school in 1942 when she was only 16, so her husband could fight in World War II.

"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," says her granddaughter, Erin Wilson.

Grace went on to work as a bus driver for the Madison County School system for 30 years. That's a lot of faces to remember, but she still recognizes most of the people she drove if they just tell her their address.

"She'll say, 'I can't remember exactly who you were, go ahead and tell me where you lived.' So they'll give the address and she'll say 'oh yeah, I remember you,' and then she'll start with stories," says Wilson.

Although she never had the chance to complete her education, she always emphasized the importance of learning to her family.

"She drove me actually on the school bus, so I rode with her to and from school. And she always encouraged me to go to school, make sure I finish school, and now she encourages my girls," says Wilson.

With 26 great-grandchildren, she has a lot of knowledge to pass on. And you can tell her entire family appreciates her commitment to education.

Her granddaughter, Erin, was the one who worked on getting Grace her honorary degree as a surprise.

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