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Alabama high school awards diploma to its oldest graduate ever: 94-year-old woman earns honorary diploma

Madison County Schools was able to surprise Smith with her diploma on Wednesday.

HAZEL GREEN, Ala. — Hazel Green High School awarded an honorary diploma to its oldest graduate ever: A 94-year-old woman.

Grace Lee McClure Smith has worked as a bus driver for Madison County for more than 30 years, even driving the route her granddaughter, a Madison County elementary teacher, rode to school.

"She was a role model for a lot of kids," said Smith's granddaughter, Erin Wilson. "She's always telling stories and she'll remember, she may not remember faces but she will remember names and the addresses of where she picked them up and dropped them off, she could tell you every single one."

Smith dropped out of school in 1942 when she was 16-years-old so her husband could go to war.

Madison County Schools was able to surprise Smith with her diploma on Wednesday. Wilson said her grandmother has always been open about her story.

"My Grandmother has always told my children just how important it is to stay in school and how they need to make sure they continue their education," said Wilson.

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