After a lifetime spent helping others, graduate finally receives diploma at age 103

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A special graduation happened at Wyandotte High School on Wednesday; one that should have taken place in 1930.

Now 103 years old, Irene Elizabeth Gier-Hill would have been the first person in her family to ever graduate high school, but as a teenager, she had to drop out of school to take care of her sick mother.

103Eighty-five years after her class graduated, Gier-Hill walked the stage to get her honorary diploma, while her children all the way down to her great-grandchildren cheered for her.

Gier-Hill said this was the experience of a lifetime and is proud she has finally graduated.

"I always loved history and now I am making history," she beamed.

After she left school and her mother died, family says Gier-Hill has spent her life taking care of other people.

"I am just happy that we could do something to honor her the way that she has always taken care of us," said granddaughter Lisa Parcels. "It's just a really good day to see her be so happy and fun up on the stage, that’s just how she is.”

After raising her own children, Gier-Hill got her first job as a lunch lady at Silver City Elementary School at the age of 63 to help out her children's families. It was a job she had for 30 years until she retired at the age of 93.


The graduation ceremony was part of a presentation of a historical book titled ‘Images from the history of Wyandotte High School’, written by graduate and former teacher Craig Delich.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.