Swafford graduates 40 years after dropping out of high school

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By Katie Hogin

Welzie Swafford, 57, graduated high school after 40 years Thursday evening.

The success was especially sweet for Swafford. It was his fifth attempt in a straight 34-month period.  

Swafford received his GED through Roane State Community College’s Adult Education program during its graduation ceremony in Roane State’s theater.

While signing up for Social Security and disability for disc problems, Swafford was advised to finish high school after all this time.

“I just didn’t like school back then,” Swafford said.

“I quit school when I was 17 years old,” he added. “I wanted to work. But I see now that you got to have an education so you can do things, know how to do things in life.”

Swafford and his wife are residential monitors at Harriman Gardens Building on Sewanee Street.

Though he doesn’t know what he plans on doing next, Swafford said he likes working with people and helping the residents.  

Throughout the program, Swafford has enjoyed learning more of what he missed out on before.

“I used to didn’t have confidence in myself, but now I do,” he said.