Meet Paris’s 102-year-old high school graduate


Paris, Ill. (WCIA)

It might be a cliché saying overused on class t-shirts and cocktail napkins, but one unusual graduate of Paris Union School District 95 will be the first tell you, ‘the tassel was worth the hassle.’

It was an emotional moment for 102-year-old Gladys Wright, who proved to her community it’s never too late to graduate from high school.

“If you or any of your friends have not finished to get your high school diploma… you tell them to get after it. Because it’s well worth it,” says Wright.

Wright was born in August of 1918 during the Spanish flu. She grew up in a three room farmhouse in Clay County Indiana, the fifth of eleven children.

Wright was on track to graduate from high school in 1936, but dropped out after falling ill.

Now, with the help of her district’s adult education program, superintendent Dr. Jeremy Larson says Wright and other adults over 18 can finish what they started.

“We take their high school transcript, do an evaluation on it to see which courses are deficit, we help them with the course work, pair them with an instructor and help them get their high school diploma,” says Larson.

Back in school, Wright was able to re-discover a few things about herself. Particularly, the subjects that intrigue her versus the ones that feel a little dull.

“Well, I kind of enjoyed the math,” says Wright. “That was a lot of fun. But that English I didn’t like when I was in high school and I still can’t say I like it.”

Wright’s graduation party featured a parade through Paris, well wishes from state senators, representatives, and the mayor. Wright also received letters from over 200 people, including the governor.

It’s clear there’s no stopping this graduate from the places she’ll go…

“I’ve been thinking Ill apply for a job,” laughs Wright.

Or the ways she’ll inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Follow ciLiving on Social Media

Facebook Social IconTwitter Social IconInstagram Social IconPintrest Social Icon