Margaret Thome Bekema, 97, never graduated from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High in 1936 like she was supposed to. Instead she had to leave school to take care of her mother, who was sick with cancer, and siblings.
But thanks to a distant relative, Bekema recently received an honorary diploma from the school, 79 years after she was originally supposed to graduate.
Principal Greg Deja presents Bekema with her diploma.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I had to quit school to take over the family. It was hard, you have no idea how hard that was. I loved high school and I had lots of friends.” – Margaret Thome Bekema
“Her life has been one of sacrifice and service. It has been so encouraging and inspiring for our community because her choices represent all the core values that we teach our students.” – Greg Deja, school principal