88-year-old woman achieves lifelong dream

Class of 1946 student finally walks across stage after almost 71 years

It’s after midnight and the sky is completely black, dusted with constellations for miles. It’s a normal night for two high schoolers driving home from a date. Headlights flash into their view as a drunk driver loses control of his car and collides head on into the couple’s vehicle. Soon after the collision, the pair finds themselves stuck in a ditch off the side of the road.

The collision would greatly impact the life of Frankie Charlene Lester Sprabary, a soon-to-be graduate of the class of 1946.

“[The crash] knocked both my shoes off and I wasn’t able to walk for months afterwards,” now 88-year-old Frankie Sprabary said. “I wasn’t able to attend school or receive my diploma with my classmates.”

One month ago, Frankie Sprabary’s son, Paul Sprabary, reached out to assistant principal Joi Cartmill concerning his mother.

“In early January we were sitting around the dinner table, [and my] mother retold the story of how she and daddy met,” Paul Sprabary said. “Mother was sitting in a coffee shop on Main Street with her high school girlfriends, and saw daddy walking on the other side of street. She says she knew she loved him then. Soon after, they began dating, and eventually got married.”

However, then Frankie Sprabary revealed something that she hadn’t told her family before.

“She began to talk about how they were coming back from a movie in Denton and were hit by another car,” Paul Sprabary said. “Due to her injuries of the car accident, she was not able to complete her studies and graduate. I could hear the pain in her voice as she told her story. My sister, wife and I wanted to see if there was something that could be done.”

Although Frankie Sprabary lived a fulfilling life, she always regretted not being able to walk the stage to receive her high school diploma. After all of this time, she was able to finalize a part of her life that was left incomplete on that day almost 71 years ago.

“This family is a part of our Lewisville High School history,” Cartmill said. “They have contributed to this community and there is even a street named after Mrs. Sprabary’s father. Considering the circumstances surrounding her inability to graduate, I felt that it was necessary to honor her and her family in this very special way. It is commendable that after all of these years she values education and has such pride in being a Farmer.”

After about a month of planning, Frankie Sprabary finally got the chance to graduate and receive her honorary diploma on Monday, Feb. 6. Band played the introduction music and choir performed a tasteful piece for the entire audience. Principal Jeffrey Kajs carried out the ceremony in the auditorium and Frankie Sprabary walked across the stage in her maroon cap and gown while the band played the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.”

“[Receiving my diploma] means finalizing something that I started and couldn’t finish in ‘46, but today in 2017 at the age of 88 I received my diploma and that means so much to me,” Frankie Sprabary said.