A lifelong learner

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

People can learn a valuable lesson from Florence Held, an area woman who recently received a high school equivalency diploma from Western Iowa Tech Community.

Getting a high school diploma after being absent from the classroom for several years is not unusual but it is highly unusual for the absence to be for more than 70 years.

Held is 87 and did not return to Hinton High School after completing the 10th grade. Her mother and sister were both ill and she needed to perform domestic duties.

Held grew up a half mile east of Hinton and was a bookkeeper for various businesses in Sioux City throughout her life. She currently lives at the Countryside Retirement Home in Sioux City.

After a few placement exams through the community college, the 87-year-old student began her classes in June 2006. She enrolled in five classes that consisted of mathematics, sciences and writing.

She completed her classes and graduated last month. She was also one of the keynote speakers at the community college's commencement ceremonies.

Her advice to others is that you're never too old to learn. She is considering taking a computer course through WIT in the future. We admire her spirit.