After 69 years, her dream came true - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

After 69 years, her dream came true

GRAND SALINE, TX (KLTV) - "I had made the best grades through high school, I graded papers for teachers and I worked enough to pay for my typing and the materials for my junior/senior banquet," says Opal Phillips.

Mrs. Phillips was on track to graduate at the top of her class as valedictorian, but then something unexpected got in the way…love.

"When my husband asked me to marry him I said, ‘Well I want to graduate from high school' and he said, ‘Oh I'll let you go to high school,'" she says.  

But the plan fell through and Mrs. Phillips found herself helping out on the farm.

"I milked the cows and fed the pigs," she says.

Azalea Trail Nursing and Rehab staff heard about Mrs. Phillips' story and wanted to help.

"It was all a surprise. We had contacted her family and let them know so they could all be here for it, we had graduation music playing and she had no idea. We took her out and dressed her in a cap and gown and she got to go through the whole graduation ceremony," says Azalea's Assistant Director, Kyle Thompson.

The ceremony was completed with an Alba-Golden High School diploma.

"It was all a secret from my mom and she was really thrilled with it for sure. It's something she's always wanted, to have a high school diploma," says John Phillips.

"They were cheering for me and I was laughing and crying at the same time," she says.

At 87-years-old, Mrs. Phillips is proud to say she is a wife, a mother, a grand-mother, a great-grandmother...and a high school graduate.

Alba-Golden high school,  Azalea Trail Nursing and Rehab along with family and friends worked together to create an unforgettable graduation ceremony for one very special woman. 

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