It’s graduation season and age knows no boundaries when it comes to education. That’s true for one woman who at 100 received an honorary GED.
Bertie Bickford turned a century old this past March. She grew up in Augusta with a big family.
“I was born French … 9 of em,” she said, talking about her siblings.
Bertie faced some challenges while living with that many siblings.
“It was quite hard, you know, to try to please one or the other,” she said.
Bertie’s daughter, Sandra Mansfield, said Bertie’s father pulled her out of school when she was in the eighth grade to help take care of her brothers and sisters.
“Stay home with the children,” Bertie said.
She also got a job in a local factory in Augusta.
“I think she started out in the paper mill but then got a job in the shoe factory,” said Mansfield.
Now in her retirement, Bertie keeps busy in her spare time. She loves to play Bingo and speak French. That language helped her to form a close relationship with Lisa Michaud of the University of Maine’s Franco American Centre.
“I fell in love with her right away … just a sweet, kind, person,” said Michaud.
Over the last four years, the two have formed a special bond and Michaud knew she had to help Bertie get her GED.
“She told me she would sit near the window, and she would watch her friends going to school,” said Michaud, “I thought what better way to acknowledged Bertie for what she sacrificed than having an honorary GED presented to her,” Michaud said.
Michaud reached out to several Augusta representatives and heard back from Rep. Matthew Pouliot, R-Augusta, last week. Michaud presented Bertie with the letter and an honorary GED from the Department of Education.
Bertie’s her daughter foresees more achievements.
“Going on to college,” said Mansfield, joking with her mom and laughing.
But Bertie thinks she’s going to take it easy, at least for now.
When asked what she’s going to do next, she replied, “I don’t know. … Oh, 100” she said as she laughed and shrugged her shoulders.