59-year-old graduates high school

Henrietta Norris-Washington, 59, was just a young girl when she quit school as a West Philadelphia High School sophomore. Now, definitely all grown up, she finally got her diploma as a middle-aged woman last night.

“I was a defiant foster child fighting against the world,” said Norris-Washington, who earned a diploma through the Adult Diploma Program at the Multi-Cultural Academy Charter School. “Even young dogs can teach an old dog new tricks. Let this be an inspiration, a ray of hope, to those who think they can’t.”

Older-graduate stories come along this time every year. What makes the “I’m a Graduate” sign painted on her car unique is Norris-Washington realized early on that she needed to graduate if peace of mind was ever to come. She lied on employment applications, having to switch jobs when truth caught up to her.

Working 11 years for Philadelphia Gas Works, their go-back-to-school support program taunted her. “I’m finally a high-school graduate,” Norris-Washington rasped through tears.

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