Chester senior citizen goes to senior prom

June 5, 2008 10:00:16 PM PDT
He arrived in style, a black limo, a sharp tuxedo, a beautiful date and an adoring crowd. This is the Chester High Senior Prom at the Springfield Country Club. Let's just say, at 84, Kenneth Smith was fashionable late.

"People always ask me, they say why did it take you so long, and I say well, I was a slow learner," Smith told Action News.

It would be more accurate to say that Smith's selflessness is what held up his education until now. The Maris Grove resident was drafted in World War II around the time he was supposed to graduate from high school. Shortly after, his father passed away and he found himself the sole provider for his family. So, he went to work for the state for three decades. "As time goes by and you're gainfully employed and you're head of the household, it was hard for me to even think about education," Smith said.

But, as he welcomed children, grandchildren and grandchildren into the world, he wanted to set at example by getting his diploma, and of course getting his senior prom dance. "I think it's amazing that someone got drafted, can still share the prom. I think it's really nice," was the sentiment of senior Tiffany McDuffy. Principal Keith Arrington added, "When you get down to the essence of it, it's just someone who really values education and that's the message I'm really glad my students are getting, someone who values education that much."

Although Smith said the experience was quite challenging at times, he's living proof that it's never too late. "There's quite a difference in the way you perform, especially in education but it's quite rewarding," he told us. As for what's next for Mr. Smith, graduation of course. He gets his diploma on June 11th.