101-Year-Old Receives Honorary Degree

8 years 2 months 3 weeks ago Monday, October 24 2011 Oct 24, 2011 Monday, October 24, 2011 5:18:00 PM CDT October 24, 2011 in News
By: Andrew Carter
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WESTPHALIA- 101-year-old Martha Fennewald spent Monday as a college graduate for the first time. On Sunday, Fennewald recieved an honorary degree from the University of Central Missouri due to her life as a teacher. The degree was the first honorary degree ever handed out by Central Missouri.

"We're all very proud of her for the things she has done her whole life, teaching in the classroom, and at home with the family," said Dorothy Fennewald.

 Fennewald noted she had to walk 4 miles to and from school when she taught, a feat she is very proud of.

Born in 1910, Fennewald has lived in Mid-Missouri her entrie life, and started teaching to earn a living when she was 17. A Linn High School graduate, Fennewald always wanted to attend college, but never got around to it because of her need to make money teaching for $75 a month.

"I would make money, and the money would go towards my parents and the family," said Fennewald.

She taught at St. Elizabeth School outside of St. Elizabeth, MO and also at St. Joseph's School in Westphalia, MO. Fennewald was the first non-nun hired at St. Joseph's School and taught there before retiring when she was 77.

Fennewald contintued to work until she was 90 selling life insurance, and plans on visiting a Rock Bridge Elementary in Columbia on Thursday to tell her life story. 

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