100-Year-Old Who Quit School During Great Depression Earns Diploma

Cierra Bailey
An elderly Massachusetts woman was forced to quit school to help her family through the Great Depression and 85 years later, she finally got her diploma.


A woman received the best birthday present to celebrate her centennial year of life.

Clare Picciuto of Massachusetts was recently presented with her high school diploma after being forced to drop out of school during her teen years due to the Great Depression, according to Jezebel.

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The Great Depression hit just before Picciuto was supposed to begin high school. She was asked by her parents to postpone her education and get a job to help her family maintain.

“Her brothers were allowed to continue with their education, and she always bemoaned the fact that she wasn’t able to,” her daughter Deborah Picciuto, 59, told ABC News. “But she never lost her love of learning.”

She was never able to resume school after starting her life and raising a family of her own — but, she reportedly always read dictionaries and encyclopedias for fun. She also regularly encouraged her daughter and granddaughters to value their educations.  

Picciuto was presented her diploma, a cap and gown, and a gold honors tassel by the superintendent of North Reading Public Schools, Jon Bernard, during bingo night at the local senior center.

“I told her that in my opinion, her life experiences alone had earned her the honor tassel and diploma,” he said. "Clare was so articulate, sharp and positive. She is truly representative of all the things we should aspire to be."

Picciuto is truly an inspiration. Not only is she a beloved family matriarch, but at 100 years old, she’s still an active member of her community.

"She is our oldest resident, oldest volunteer and let me tell you; she has still very much got it," said Mary Prenney, North Reading's director of elder affairs. 

This is a moment Picciuto will likely cherish for the rest of her life. 

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