Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Better late than never as 3 "senior" grandmothers aged 76, 80 and 89 graduate high school...


Maureen Baker has waited 56 years to get her high school diploma, and has now finally crossed that dream off her bucket list.
Baker has attended several high school reunions with her classmates from the 1950s, but felt like an outsider because she never finished school.
On Wednesday, the 76-yearold Agassiz resident finally walked across a stage with two other seniors who enrolled at the same alternate school as part of a pilot project for seniors, alongside a group of at-risk teens.
"I'm thinking I must be a late bloomer," Baker said before the ceremony. "It's taken me 56 years to do it."
Baker quit school in 1956, when she was in Grade 11, to work as a phone operator for BC Tel, which was later bought by Telus. Going back to class at the Agassiz Centre for Education after more than five decades wasn't all peachy for Baker, whose biggest challenge was "the dreaded math."
Her husband, Leonard Baker, tried to encourage her, in his own unique way.
"When he saw me struggling with trigonometry and algebra he said, 'Moe, why are you doing this?' And I said, 'Because I can.'"
Baker got her kicks in English class, however, because of her lifelong love of reading. And the other two women in the class inspired her to keep chugging along because they had a bit more patience under their belts - at ages 80 and 89.
"They called me the youngster, and I was the oldest of six children so I loved it," said Baker.
Being called "Grandma" by the 20 teens at the alternate school was all the motivation she needed. Baker, whose blended family includes eight children, 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, got extra inspiration from her 17-year-old granddaughter, who graduated from the same alternate school last year.
"She said, 'Grandma, if I can do it, you can do it.'"