By Elly Cosgrove | April 24, 2021 at 7:06 PM EDT – Updated April 25 at 2:56 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A long-time retired principal and community activist celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday with a drive-thru birthday celebration.
Many words were used to describe Inez Richardson on her birthday: icon, jewel, living legend. Richardson has done many things with her 100 years on this earth.
She worked in the New Hanover County Schools system for around 50 years in several different roles. She served as a counselor, teacher, assistant principal and principal during her time with the school system. Richardson’s friend, former colleague and sorority sister Bertha Boykin Todd said Richardson has touched and impacted so many lives through the years.
“I really can’t estimate, I wouldn’t even try to estimate the profound impact she has had on so many adults throughout the world, really.”
Richardson is also a two-time former president of the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
“This is a great occasion,” said Ivy Murrain, the graduate advisor for the local chapter. “We have to honor our jewels and she’s a jewel in our sorority and she’s a jewel in our community.”
Mayor Bill Saffo presented Richardson with a centurion award from the City of Wilmington.
Richardson’s alma mater Winston-Salem State University, formerly Winston-Salem Teacher’s College, also presented her with a proclamation. It proclaimed Saturday Mrs. Inez Richardson Day in honor of her 100th birthday.
Richardson graduated from Winston-Salem Teacher’s college in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in teaching and in 1945 with a master’s degree in teaching.
“She represents the history of Winston-Salem State University,” said Elwood Robinson, chancellor of the university. “When you think about when she graduated in the 1940′s what that must have been like for her to have to go through what she went through to achieve a degree. And getting that degree from Winston-Salem State University is so important to us.”
Many drove by on Saturday to celebrate the retired principal and community activist.
Family who helped organize the drive-thru birthday says Richardson always sets the bar high.
“She always did things over and above because she wanted us to achieve,” said Richardson’s niece Constance Evans. “It’s going to be kind of hard now for us to try and reach 100. I’ve got my shot already, so I’m covid ready.”
Richardson is also very involved in her church Saint Luke AMEZ Church, which is located across the street from where the celebration took place today.
She is grateful for the friends, family, loved ones and sorority sisters who came out for her birthday.
“It’s just a wonderful feeling to be able to realize it is my 100th birthday,” Richardson said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
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