PERTH AMBOY – This afternoon, one of Perth Amboy Adult High School’s oldest graduates will finally receive her high school diploma.
Ida Ruth Hayes Greene, a 98-year-old resident of the Alameda Nursing facility in Perth Amboy, had one regret in her life – she never graduated from high school.
Greene was the eldest of 11 children who was given considerable responsibilities early on at her family home and farm in Colquitt, Ga. Her mother passed away when she was young and she was required to basically become a surrogate mother to her 10 siblings.
She was required to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning and make breakfast for her father and siblings, followed by doing chores, making lunch for everyone; including those working in the fields.
Greene’s educational experience was impacted by the needs of her family and a nation at war. She often had to miss school to work in the fields or to manage additional workers needed to supply crops, to American troops and citizens for the growing nation. This was especially critical during wartime. Despite hardships and a grueling schedule, she completed 10 years of primary schooling in Colquitt, Ga.
Greene took over the leadership role in her family upon the death of her father and then taught her brothers to read and manage the business after getting married. She was married for over sixty years. She has one sister left in the U.S. that remains in Georgia, in very poor health. Greene also has a dedicated niece, Lillie Pinckney, who visits her weekly at Alameda Nursing Home. She has been a constant force in her aunt’s life; and remains her only connection to a once large and thriving family.
Greene believes that each of us controls the fate of our own respective destiny. She emphasizes the need for continued hard work, discipline and sacrifice.
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