91-year-old receives diploma after dropping out of school to save farm


In 2017, 2.1 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of school–that’s 5.4 percent. What causes students to drop out? A number of reasons: academic struggles, lack of support, illness, the list could go on.

In the 1930s, when Clifford Hanson, 91, was in eighth grade when he had to make the difficult decision to drop out of school. The youngest boy in a family who lived on a livestock farm in Benson, Minnesota needed to help care for the family business after his dad became ill.

“When you’re working on farmland, it took about 95 percent of your day,” he said. “You had to do it otherwise you wouldn’t have anything.”

Even though he dropped out of school, he didn’t stop learning.

Instead of learning from books and teachers, Hanson went out into the real world and gained experience from working various jobs to support his family.

He worked to save his family’s farm, became a welder, and drove a bus.

“He’s a really smart man, really good values, he can do anything you put in front of him,” his son, Andrew Hanson, told WCCO.

He studied hard and often. Clifford taught himself how to read schematics and manuals and even invented a thing or two.

Not earning his diploma weighed on him.

Despite having expanding his knowledge on his own accord, not receiving his high school diploma still weighed on him. So a nurse at Lake Ridge Care Center got in contact with Benson High School and the high school decided to honor Clifford with a diploma.

“He’s sitting taller and he’s just a different person,” Tamara Pierre said. “What a great thing.”

Now that Clifford has his high school diploma, he’s proud of his accomplishments.

Congratulations Clifford! Your accomplishment shows it’s never too late to accomplish your dreams.

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