Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

At 76, she has high school diploma in hand

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VANCOUVER -- A great-grandmother who has waited 56 years to get her high school diploma can finally cross that dream off her bucket list.

Maureen Baker has attended several high school reunions with her classmates from the 1950s but felt like an outsider because she never finished school.

On Wednesday, the 76-year-old Agassiz, B.C., resident walked across a stage with two other seniors who enrolled at the same alternative school as part of a pilot project for seniors, alongside at-risk teens.

"I'm thinking I must be a late bloomer," Baker said before the grad ceremony. "It's taken me 56 years to do it."

Baker quit school in 1956, when she was in Grade 11, to work as a phone operator for BC Tel, which was later bought by Telus (TSX:T).

But going back to class at the Agassiz Centre for Education after more than five decades wasn't all peachy for Baker, whose biggest challenge was "the dreaded math."

Baker got her kicks in English class though, because of her lifelong love of reading. And the other two grannies in the class inspired her to keep chugging along because they had a bit more patience under their belts -- at ages 80 and 89.

"They called me the youngster, and I was the oldest of six children so I loved it," said Baker.

Being called Grandma by the 20 teens at school was the motivation she needed to keep her eye on the prize.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 20, 2013 A2

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