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99-year-old woman gets high school diploma

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A 99-year-old Iowa woman who dropped out of a high school more than 80 years ago despite needing only one credit to graduate has finally received her diploma.

According to KWWL, Audrey Crabtree, of Cedar Falls, smiled Monday as she received an honorary diploma for her time at Waterloo East High School.

"Like I said, I feel so much more intelligent now that I have a diploma," joked Crabtree after a short ceremony.

Some Hoover Middle School students told her she's an inspiration and presented her with hand-written cards saying so.

"I don't feel worthy but it was really an inspiration to me and I'm having a hard time keeping my tears back," said Crabtree.

She says she'll proudly show off her new piece of paper at her Cedar Falls retirement facility.

Crabtree, who began her education at a one-room school house in northeast Iowa, left high school in 1932 due to a swimming and diving accident that forced her to miss several school days. She also had to care for her sick grandmother.

That would have interfered with her plans to marry her first husband. In 1957, the couple bought the flower shop where Crabtree had worked after their two children started school. But her husband died of a heart attack two months into their business venture.

Crabtree operated Flowers by Audrey for 28 years. She married two more times and outlived both husbands. Her family today includes five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Despite Crabtree's professional and family success, those around her had noted her dissatisfaction with not finishing school.

Hoffman contacted Waterloo Community Schools and helped arrange the diploma ceremony.

Family and friends surrounded Crabtree as the current principal of East High handed her a diploma during an education board meeting.

Crabtree was given a copy of her last report card and memorabilia from her time at the high school, including a jacket and homecoming pins. She also received more than 100 handmade congratulatory cards from middle school students.

Read more: KWWL