Woman Turning 100 Who Had to Quit School for Work During the Great Depression Finally Gets Diploma

Screencap via ABC News.
Screencap via ABC News.

Here’s a good 100th birthday gift: A Massachusetts woman was finally presented with the high school diploma she could never pursue as a teen, because the Great Depression struck and she had to go to work.

ABC News reports that Clare Picciuto was presented with her diploma by Jon Bernard, superintendent of North Reading Public Schools—on bingo day 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. About those life experiences:

Just before Clare Picciuto was supposed to start high school in the early 1930s, the Great Depression hit, according to her daughter, Deborah Picciuto. Clare was asked by her parents to stop her education and start working, Deborah said.

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


“She’s been to so many graduations—my high school, college and grad school ones—and a bunch more for all of my daughters’, but she’s never had her own,” her daughter explained. “So I wanted to give her that.” Happy birthday and congratulations to Clare.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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—Her brothers were allowed to continue with their education—

God. Someone having to give up their education to earn money is heartbreaking. Someone having to give up their education because they’re female and thus drastically less important than their male siblings is infuriating.