Spencer County great-grandmother celebrates high school diploma


DALE, Ind. (WEHT)- Thousands of people earn their high school diploma through a GED program but relatively few of them waited quite as long as Spencer County great-grandmother Rita Gogel, 88.

The daughter of German immigrants, Gogel was 16 when she had to drop out of school and work to support her family after her father died in an accident. Gogel says she couldn’t even speak English when she started school but had a dream of becoming a nurse.

Gogel says he didn’t like having to drop out of school but did what she had to. Still, she says she felt a little embarrassed about not having her diploma and even though she went 70 years between classes, she never gave up. Despite some challenges with the “new math” on the test, Gogel achieved her lifelong dream earlier this year. When she finally walked across the stage, Gogel joked she felt “a little high,” before saying she’d never been high otherwise.

While it may be too late to become a nurse, Gogel says she’s still proud to call herself a high school graduate.

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