In 1942, with just a few weeks to go until graduation, Dorothy Louise Liggett was kicked out of high school for getting married. Seven decades later, she’s been awarded a diploma.
Liggett and her late husband, John Huston — who had graduated from North High School two years earlier and had been called into the U.S. Army Air Corps. — had run away to Kentucky to be married and discovered a few months later that they were having a baby. Their plan was to have Liggett finish high school and then join her husband wherever he was assigned, after she graduated.
That plan changed when Liggett was belittled by a gym teacher for forgetting her gym suit. When the teacher insisted Liggett go to study hall, the slighted teen blurted: “No. I’m married. I’m going home.”
And that was that: “Just two months from graduation, the school acted on its policy that banned married students from attending high school,” the Akron Beacon Journal says.
Liggett always regretted not getting her diploma, and eventually her 73-year-old daughter Janice—the baby Liggett was carrying when she was kicked out—wrote to her mom’s alma mater, asking for their help. Which is how superintendent of Akron Public Schools David W. James wound up personally presenting Liggett with her diploma as a 93rd birthday surprise.
“I felt terrible for the way Mrs. Liggett was treated all of those years ago and wanted to do what we could to make it up to her,” James told the Beacon Journal, adding that, “To have invested 13 years in school, to have been a good student and still not receive a diploma because of that, was simply wrong.”
Congrats to Dorothy.
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