This 99-Year-Old Woman is Your New Hero

Need a reason to believe in second chances? Meet Audrey Crabtree, the 99-year-old Iowa woman who just graduated from high school.

Crabtree dropped out of high school more than 80 years ago, even though she only had one credit standing between her and her high school diploma.

What led her to drop out despite being so close to graduation? In 1932, an accident that occurred while she was swimming caused Crabtree to miss too many days of school. Her help was also needed to care for an ailing grandparent.

"I was a senior, but I was short a credit, so I would've had to go back the next fall," she told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Crabtree was also busy marrying her first husband.

In 1957, the couple bought the flower shop where Crabtree ended up working while her kids were in school. That same year, her husband died of a heart attack. Undeterred, Crabtree went on to run Flowers by Audrey for 28 years, picking up two more husbands — and outliving both of them.

Despite all of her success as a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and business owner, Crabtree's family says that she always regretted not getting her diploma. "She had voiced quite a while back the one regret she had in life was that she never had gotten her diploma," Crabtree's granddaughter, Shelley Hoffman said.

Hoffman contacted Crabtree's old school district and arranged for her grandmother to receive an honorary diploma. Along with her diploma from Waterloo East High School, Crabtree was given a copy of her last report card and memorabilia from her time there.

"I wouldn't advise anyone to drop out," Crabtree said, reflecting on her long journey to graduation. After being handed her long-awaited diploma Crabtree said, "I feel so much smarter."

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