7 decades in the making

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Lillian Robinson had waited 72 years for this day.

On Sunday, the 87-year-old received something she had earned and long sought — her high school diploma.

Angel Hall, her granddaughter, said Robinson should have graduated with Rock Hill High School’s class of 1950, but was not allowed to participate in the ceremony.

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“She was double promoted at age 16 and was told she was too young to graduate,” Hall said.

The family said Robinson had been talking about the subject a lot in recent years, so they reached out to Kathy Bowling, assistant superintendent for Rock Hill, who checked into records and made arrangements for Robinson to walk in the district’s graduation ceremony this year.

Robinson, of Kitts Hill, married young to Gerald “Jack” Rowe, who died a few years later at age 23 in a river accident.

She then remarried to John Robinson, who became a father to her children.

“He’s everybody’s grandfather,” Stacy Ruggles, another of Robinson’s granddaughters said of Robinson’s family, which includes six children, nine grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Lillian and her husband reside on Crowe Ridge in Kitts Hill.

She worked as a delivery driver for The Ironton Tribune, followed by many years at Lambert Mini Mart, then she took a job at the deli at the South Point Walmart, retiring in 2019.

She is a member of Pine Grove Freewill Baptist Church, where she taught the nursery class in Sunday School for more than 20 years.

Of the big day, the family said Robinson was elated on Sunday.

“She had been waiting all this time and she waving to everyone like she was the president,” Ruggles said. “She was laughing and it was the best day for ever for her. She was so happy.”