In the US alone, approximately 1.3 millions students drop out of high school every year. The factors that contribute to their decision to leave school before graduating vary tremendously, whether it be a death in the family, health issues, school policies or becoming a parent.
For Margaret Thome Bekema, leaving school wasn’t her decision. She was forced to drop out in 1932 in order to care for her siblings after her mother fell ill.
Now 97, she finally received an honorary diploma, 79 years after she was expected to graduate.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Bekema told Mlive. “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.”