80-year-old attains GED in Region 8

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Dressed in a royal blue cap and gown Wanda Ray says, "Oh the longing never left me. It never left me to go down the aisle and get my diploma in a cap and gown."

Life and responsibilities may have gotten in the way of Miss Wanda's dream of a high school diploma for more than 60 years.

"Oh yes an education would have meant everything to me, but I just had to work I had a family," says Miss Wanda.

But when she finally got her chance, "I took it," says Miss Wanda.

Encouraging both her peers and instructors.

"I had several come up to me tonight even younger ones who said you've been such an inspiration. I said go ahead and chase your dream," says Miss Wanda.

"She's been a joy to work with and she has made my job a dream job," says her teacher Carolyn Jones.

But Miss Wanda's long road to joining the class of 2010 at Black River Technical College is marked with both academic and personal struggles.

"I'm glad my mind would accept all of the challenges because it was not easy," says Miss Wanda.

"She has been through some adversity, but she is a testimony of the strength that can come from God," says her dear friend Donna Cochran.

Miss Wanda is living out for everyone the words she clings to, "If you have a dream make it come true," says Miss Wanda.

A dream that has been more than 60 years in the making.

Wanda: "It feels awesome."

Reporter: "Can you describe it? You probably can't even put it into words?"

Wanda: "I can't it was just like a dream come true."

As for the future, Miss Wanda says she's going where the majority of new high school grads go: college.

Friends are already planning for that commencement service, "I really expect to see her walking down the aisle graduating from college," says Cochran.

Until that day, Miss Wanda says she'll enjoy every day with her new diploma.

Miss Wanda is enrolled in computer and psychology courses for the fall semester. She also plans on writing a book and says all of the proceeds are being donated to charity.

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