Woman kicked out of school for 1938 baby gets diploma

Associated Press

Grand Blanc Township — A Michigan woman has received her high school diploma eight decades after being kicked out of school for being pregnant.

Iris Weatherwax, 97, was given an honorary diploma, cap and gown on Wednesday, The Flint Journal reported . She said receiving the diploma was wonderful.

Davison Community Schools Superintendent Eric Lieske said Weatherwax told him that failing to get a high school diploma was one of the biggest regrets of her life.

The school district barred Weatherwax from graduating in 1938 because she became pregnant. She was married at the time to Lloyd Weatherwax.

Lloyd Weatherwax’ sister, Mildred Burgess, said the two were high school sweethearts.

“I grew up on a farm and we had dairy cattle,” said Burgess. “My father peddled milk in Davison with a horse and wagon and Lloyd, of course, went with him. When she was in Davison, she said she seen Lloyd and said, ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry.’ ”

Paula Clarambeau, Weatherwax’s niece, contacted the district to see if her aunt could be awarded a diploma.

“What got me was the school at that time said when she asked to go back they wouldn’t let her,” Clarambeau said. “They said things had changed, so I said she would have graduated with flying colors because she’s smart and intelligent and has done so much work in the community.”

Lieske granted the request Wednesday. He said her story shows how important education can mean to someone.

“When she asked her son if it was all right for her to cry, I thought, wow, this really matters,” Lieske said. “It’s meaningful and it was certainly a touching opportunity, and I’m glad that the family allowed us to be part of it.”