Vermont (The Gaslamp Post) – A woman who has dedicated her life to caring for others has finally received something she has waited 85 years for; her high school diploma. In a ceremony held in her honor at her care home last Tuesday, Mildred Gay received her honorary degree.
Mrs. Gay would have graduated with the senior class of Woodstock High School in 1927, but when her mother fell ill she had to drop out in order to care for her. With her parents being farmers and her father already swamped with work, Mildred had no choice but to step in and help her family.
Gay has lived in Woodstock for 100 years — her family moved from New York when she was 3 years old. When Gay was a student at Woodstock High School, as it was then called, she would take her own horse and buggy to school, and in the winter, she would ride a horse drawn sleigh.
Soon after that she found herself married, with a family of her own to care for.
Gay is also reported to have volunteered at another nursing home as well as cared for children from both Woodstock as well as nearby Bridgewater.
Snooky Richards had spent much time with Gay over the years and learned about her life. Richards, who is reportedly the Activities Director at the Mertens House nursing home was impressed with Gay’s life story and decided to do something positive for her.
Once she learned about everything that Mildred had given up, she approached Woodstock Union High School inquiring about her eligibility to graduate. Unfortunately they were unable to allow Gay to graduate but they did the next best thing; they awarded her an honorary diploma.
So with an hour to get ready, Richards was able to get Mildred into a green cap and gown, and into the dining area where she was greeted with fanfare.
As Gay was wheeled into the dining hall yesterday, friends’ cameras flashed and someone whispered, “She looks 18 again.”
Alice Worth, superintendent of Windsor Central Supervisory Union, presented the small piece of paper with Gay’s full name, Theresa Mildred Gay, printed in cursive.
“The reason I wanted to be here in person is because for someone to care about education this much at your age is terrific,” Worth said during the short ceremony.