The country star, 34, finally gets her diploma in Tennessee

By Steve Helling
May 16, 2008 08:30 AM

She’s got a Grammy, two Country Music Awards, and an album that went five times platinum, but Gretchen Wilson is finally achieving something that she has wanted for years: her high school diploma.

Wilson, 34, best known for her 2004 hit “Redneck Woman,” dropped out of high school in ninth grade amid family problems. She worked as a cook and bartender in Illinois before heading to Nashville to pursue her country music career.

In 2007, the singer decided to complete her degree, enrolling in an adult education program in Wilson County, Tennessee. Her teachers assigned her homework, which she completed while on the road, and even tutored her in her most challenging subject: math.

So why would a successful, famous star voluntarily submit to studying algebra and physics? Wilson tells The Tennessean that she was inspired by her seven-year-old daughter, Grace. “I don’t want to be the dummy that says, ‘I don’t know how to do that,'” she told the paper over the weekend. “And I don’t want her to think you can be this successful without an education. It’s something I should have done a long time ago and now I can file it away.”

What’s next for the new graduate? A 30-city tour that kicks off in Marion, S.C., June 12. She also plans to release her fourth album.