SPRINGFIELD TWP. It took nearly 60 years, but Elmyra Mary (Mitchell) Bell can now say she was a graduate from Springfield High School.
During the superintendent’s report at the Springfield Local Schools Board of Education meeting, an emotional Superintendent Chuck Sincere introduced Bell and presented her with an honorary diploma. Sincere then told Bell's story about how she enjoyed choir and was in other clubs like intramural sports, Future Teachers of America (FTA) and Future Homemakers of America (FHA).
"While in high school Elmyra met a Navy man named John Bell and the two were married November, 1959," Sincere said. "Elmyra purchased her senior ring and had graduation pictures taken but was not able to graduate due to the fact she was married. Elmyra was asked to leave school."
The Bells have six children in which five have graduated from college and two were in the military.
In April, one of Bell's daughters contacted Sincere and told him about her mother’s story and about her desire to receive a diploma. It was something that Bell often spoke of often.
Bell, who turned 76 on June 8, was presented with her honorary diploma from the Springfield High School Class of 1960 on June 19.
Her daughter, Dr. Mary Bell-Nolan, on behalf of the Bell family, thanked Sincere and the Board of Education for making their mother’s dream come true.
"My mother and I frequently chatted about her desire to obtain a high school diploma," Bell-Nolan said. "In the words of Winston Churchill, 'Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.' My mother never gave up her dream of obtaining her high school diploma. She thought about it often."
Bell-Nolan said that her mother thought about it so much that when she was going into surgery a couple of weeks ago, she again mentioned that she wanted to get her high school diploma.
"My mother supported everyone of her six children as they obtained their college degrees and went through the military and encouraged them to pursue their dreams," she said.
Bell-Nolan told Sincere and the Board of Education that the family is forever grateful for making this day happen for their mother.
Bell was in attendance with several members of her family, but they kept it a secret from her. Bell said she had no idea what was going on until she was given a cap and gown to accept her diploma.
"It means the world to me," said Bell.
There was a graduation cake made and the Board of Education invited the family to stick around following the meeting to celebrate.