According to reports from the United States, Reba did not officially graduate in 1925 because she quarreled with her teacher over a book that she had been asked to read.
“(Reba) said the book was not worth reading and she’d already read it once and didn’t like it and wasn’t going to read it again.” said Reba’s daughter, Lavata Williams in an interview with Mansfield News Journal.
In 1925, Reba’s actions were considered quite the act of rebellion and she was refused her high school diploma.
Despite not regretting her stand, Reba Williams would advise youngsters against taking her course of action.
“I’d tell them what happened to me…If they expect to get anyplace in this world, they have to learn,” Williams said.
It was a retired Mount Vernon teacher, Rita Dailey, who read a story about Williams’ life and set out to have the school award the centurion her long overdue qualification.
After the school board unanimously approved the motion, school superintendent Steve Short presented Reba with her diploma in front of watching family and friends.