When a severe flu pandemic closed the doors of Lela Burden’s high school 96 years ago for a time, she decided to work two jobs and just never went back. Securing a high school diploma was an achievement the 111-year-old had always wanted to accomplish and now her dream has materialized. Burden was the proud recipient of a high school diploma from Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday as she was honored at the school’s graduation ceremony, reports WTKR.
Burden was just a baby when the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. She was in elementary school at the start of World War I in 1914. When the country’s finances went topsy-turvy during the Great Depression, which began in 1929, Burden was just a young woman in her mid-20s.
Burden, whose memory has not been clouded by the effects of the aging process, still remembers the high school she attended back in 1918. Even though she left school at the young age of 15, Burden tried to continuously sharpen her mind by reading the newspaper every day, a habit that at 111-years-old she still practices. She also tries to learn something new every day as well.
Therefore, the supercentenarian, who is in a wheelchair, applauded herself as she gleefully accepted her long, long, long-awaited diploma.
Watch Lela Burden’s story here:
The Norfolk resident, who has lived in the southern city for some 107 years, now lives at a transitional care hospital. Last year on her 110th birthday, Burden was feted by her city with the county’s top politicos, family members, and various entrepreneurs who all gathered to honor her on the milestone birthday. On her birthday, May 7th, the city even proclaimed the event “Lela Burden Day.”
Burden, who according to her only truly started living life at age 90 when she began traveling with her senior group, even competed in the Senior Olympics when she was 100-plus years young. Despite her mileage, Burden does not think she is ancient at all, au contraire, she told WTKR at her 111th birthday party this past May, “I’m not old yet; I’m still a young lady!”
That’s right Burden, age ain’t nothing but a number! Congratulations!