Harriet Richardson Ames dreamed of earning a bachelor’s degree in education. And she finally did it nearly three weeks after her 100th birthday. The woman had been a school teacher but never received her college degree but she finally received her diploma and passed away the following day.

The woman died at home but had been receiving hospice care. She finally was able to let go once she finally accomplished her goal. The woman had a list of goals that she wanted to accomplish in her life and a bachelor’s degree was the last thing on it.

During her career as a teacher Ames had earned a two-year teaching certificate in 1931 from the Keene Normal School, now Keene State College. She taught in a one room school and later spent 20 years as a principal at Memorial School in Pittsfield, where she taught first-graders.

Throughout her teaching career she had taken classes at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth Teachers College and Keene State. She had earned credits for her degree but with failing eyesight she stopped taking classes after retiring in 1971 and she never knew if she had enough credits to graduate.

When Keene State College was doing a documentary about the college’s centennial Ames was interviewed and the college professor who was interviewing Ames discovered her desire for a degree. So the school quickly researched her coursework and found that she had enough to get her long-sought after diploma. When Ames heard of it she was so excited. She said “If I die tomorrow, I’ll know I’ll die happy, because my degree’s in the works.”

The document was driven to the woman’s bedside on Friday. Ames was so excited that she finally got her diploma and the next day she passed away. Ames had the desire and recognized the importance of a degree and luckily she had enough credits to have a diploma awarded to her before she passed away.

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