ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A Valley Park resident is rejoicing after finally receiving her long-awaited college credit after dedicating her life to music.

It’s been 51 years since Mary Koetting took an advanced piano teaching class with her sister at Fontbonne University.

“We couldn’t afford a piano, so I’d sneak into neighbors’ houses and play their piano. And my mother would come in and, you know, ‘What’s going on here? You go home,'” Koetting said.

Her father bought her a piano and she developed her musical skills. Before long, Koetting was playing the church organ, but not having college credit for that piano class left an empty spot for more than 50 years.

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“It always bothered me, you know, because I never went to college,” she said.

Koetting was saddened this year to hear that Fontbonne would be closing, and she wrote a letter to the university. She didn’t expect to hear back, but earlier this month, she found a strange envelope on her porch.

“I opened it up and I was astounded that they would do that for me,” Koetting said.

Inside that envelope was the college credit she’d earned so long ago.