University of Central Missouri honors centenarian teacher

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 | 8:08 a.m. CST; updated 11:46 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WARRENSBURG — A 101-year-old woman who taught in one-room schoolhouses in her youth has received an honorary degree from the University of Central Missouri.

Martha Groner-Fennewald of Westphalia received a teaching certificate in 1929 from what was then Central Missouri State Teachers College. She was 19 years old and began teaching in a one-room school near her hometown, about 15 miles south of Jefferson City.

But she didn't have a four-year degree until this fall, when the university gave her the first honorary bachelor's degree ever bestowed by the school.

Groner-Fennewald taught full-time in Missouri until she was 65, minus taking a break from the profession while her five children were young. She then was a substitute until she was 77.

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Kate Everson November 16, 2011 | 10:26 a.m.

On Oct. 27, Martha Groner-Fennewald taught a history lesson at Rock Bridge Elementary School, and I was fortunate enough to cover it as well as sit down and talk with her. My interview with her will always be one of my favorite reporting experiences; she is truly and inspirational and fascinating person.

Kate Everson
Reporter | Columbia Missourian

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