Never say never. Eileen Delaney made peace with the fact that she didn't graduate high school 75 years ago, and it made her birthday present even more special when she turned 93.
Seventy-five years after Eileen Delaney would have graduated high school, she finally received recognition for all her years of attendance and the hard work she had put in at the time.
Delaney received the great gift of recognition when she turned 93, all thanks to her cousin, who made it all happen, especially after learning that Delaney's class wanted to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their graduation.
When Holly Delaney Wade heard that her cousin's class at Port Richmond High School would be celebrating their anniversary, it reminded her of how much Delaney officially deserved to be with them as a graduate. So, she made it happen.
Holly contacted the school's alumni association, who steered her to the school's principal, Andrew Greenfield. Eager to oblige, he awarded Delaney with a high school diploma as a part of the class of 1945. Greenfield later told PEOPLE that it was the "easiest and happiest" decision he made all year.
A graduating class celebrating their achievement. | Source: Pixabay.
WHY DIDN'T DELANEY FINISH SCHOOL?
The Staten Island resident explained that she had no choice in how her final year of high school turned out. Halfway through her senior year, Delaney's stepmother pulled her out of school and told her to get a full-time job.
Times were tough at home, and her stepmother insisted that she pull her financial weight if she wanted to keep living there. Finally, Delaney found a job that didn't require a high school diploma, as she added:
"I was very fortunate. I went to work for the New York Telephone Company."
Graduation cap and a scroll. | Source: Pixabay.
THEIR WAY OF GIVING BACK
After Delaney started working for the telephone company, she met her husband, Eugene A. Delaney. They went on to welcome six children to the world, and Delaney devoted her life to her family.
On her 93rd birthday, her family showed gratitude for that devotion with a high school diploma they all know she earned, as her granddaughter, Delaney Elliot, said:
"For someone who has done so much for everybody else and never asked for anything in return I felt like this was the least that we could do for her."
SHE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE
However, Margaret Thome Bekema would have a good idea of how much it means to Delaney, as she also received her high school diploma in 2015 - almost eight decades after she would have graduated.
Bekema, who had already turned 97, would have graduated from the Catholic Central High School class of 1936 in Michigan. Unfortunately, she had to drop out when her mother got sick with cancer. Bekema then joined the armed forces, where she worked as a clerk and a preschool teacher.
Last month, another female member of the armed forces made history. Last month, Dorothy "Dot Cole, currently living in North Carolina, became the oldest living US Marine.
Dorothy was 29 years old when she enlisted in the US Marine Corps during the early 1940s, and on September 19, the veteran celebrated her 107th birthday. Certainly one for the record books!