Tucson grandmother joins grandson for a graduation ceremony she never had

Grandma graduates with grandson

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As thousands of high school students take the next step this week, one Tucson High senior had a very special someone in tow.

“It’s very very, how shall I say, emotional," said 86-year-old Bertha Sanchez.

Sanchez received a diploma from Tucson High School in January 1952, but she didn’t get the chance to attend the graduation ceremony in the summer.

“In June was when the graduations were and I was going to get married in July," said Sanchez. "I asked them, well, can I wear my wedding gown to pick up my diploma? Nope, no answer.”

Her answer finally came 67 years later, with the help of her daughter and grandson. Sanchez learned she would be allowed to trade in her wedding gown for a red cap and gown, even a tassel for the Class of 1952.

“I said 'oh my goodness, los mio,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez was walked in Tucson High’s graduation ceremony Thursday night, arm-in-arm with her grandson, Arturo Padilla.

“She says she has no words for it, I don’t either," said Padilla.

Padilla is one of Sanchez’s eight grandchildren. He will be the last of four to graduate from Tucson High School.

“She has influenced me, she has shown me how to be a good person, how to be a beautiful person. She has taught me a lot of things, inspired me.," said Padilla. "It made an important part of my life become even more important.”

2,530 students in the Tucson Unified School District were set to receive a diploma Thursday night.

The school district said those students raked in more than 53-million dollars in scholarship money. Graduates will be heading to over 100 different colleges and universities.

The school district said those students raked in more than 53-million dollars in scholarship money. Graduates will be heading to over 100 different colleges and universities.