Sixty years after she finished the requirements, Kathleen Pollard finally accomplished her dream to walk across the stage and receive a high school diploma.
On Dec. 24, 1953, Pollard married T. Dale Pollard, and moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, to join her husband. She had completed all but her final semester at Ardmore High School and enrolled in Technical High School to finish her education. The plan was to finish the courses, then transfer the credits back to AHS to eventually earn her high school diploma.
But when the time came, AHS did not allow Pollard to graduate with her class. Because she had only been at Technical High School for a semester, they would not grant her the diploma either.
Years of trying to receive it failed, and she eventually up on ever receiving anything.
Yet, Dale did not give up. Hoping to surprise her for their 60th wedding anniversary, he wrote a letter in November to current AHS Principal Kim Holland.
"Well, what we assumed would work out for her failed. For some reason the school would not allow her to graduate with her class. Granted, we were immature in many ways and plans were probably hastily made all around, however, she has felt all these years that she has been denied a diploma that was rightfully hers," Dale wrote in his letter to Holland.
Thursday, the school administration and the National Honor Society had a graduation ceremony for Kathleen in the high school commons. With family and friends watching, she was finally able to don a cap and gown and receive her diploma.
"It was a dream for me to have it really happen," she says. "Mr. Holland went above and beyond to help me. It turned out really good. I even threw my hat in the air, and the kids clapped."
Despite not having the diploma for so many years, Pollard has not shied away from supporting education. Her work history is filled with various positions at Broken Arrow High School, Oklahoma State University, Evangel University and Ardmore Higher Education Center (now the University Center of Southern Oklahoma).
She also instilled a love of education in her daughter Cindy, who is currently the UC assistant director.
"This was a dream come true for my mom," Cindy said. "I'm really glad for her and thankful Mr. Holland could make it happen."
Now, an official high school graduate, Kathleen actually doesn't have any new plans. She will continue to work as secretary for First Presbyterian Church.
"I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing," she said.