Walkersville woman, 64, earns GED diploma

Dianna Butt is not a quitter.

The 64-year-old Walkersville resident has worked her whole life to make ends meet.

She never closed the doors of her in-home day care center, even when she was getting chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer or when both her legs were broken in a fall.

And though Butt quit school after 10th grade to get married and start a family, she always knew she wanted to finish what she had started.

In May, she finally did.

Butt earned her GED certificate through Frederick Community College nearly 50 years after dropping out of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda.

She is happy about being a good role model for the children in her day care, which she started in 1997.

“How can I teach these kids in my home how important education is if I never finished (school)?” she asked. “Now I can tell these kids, you know, don’t give up.”

Also, “if you make mistakes in your life, you can fix them.”

Butt said she, her husband and their two children could have been much better off financially if she had finished school. Although she always worked, she was once offered a government job that she had to turn down because she did not have a high school diploma.

“Everybody needs that piece of paper,” she said.

Butt started her journey toward earning that paper at the end of February, she said. Throughout the course, she would cram for a few hours during the day when her older day care children were in school and her smaller charges were down for their naps.

“I also spent a lot of late nights studying,” she said.

Butt attended evening courses at FCC’s Monroe Building.

“My granddaughter was at one end doing nursing, and I was at the other end getting my GED,” she said.

She graduated May 29, with members of her family, her church and even her day care children there cheering for her.

Now that she has reached her goal of getting her GED diploma, Butt said she might go for a certified nursing assistant degree because her daughter and two granddaughters all have one.

“I can’t let them have one up on me,” she said with a smile.

For now, Butt remains plenty busy with her day care business and volunteer work with her church, Ambassador Baptist in Frederick. But she is keeping her options open because she has proved to herself that “it’s never too late.”

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