Eileen Delaney recently got the surprise of her life on her birthday. The Virginia resident may have been expecting a cake and some presents on the big day, but instead the 93-year-old woman finally got her high school diploma.
Delaney was forced to leave high school midway through her senior year 75 years ago. Her mother had died and her father remarried. Her family was going through some tough times, so her stepmother told her she had to get a full-time job.
She went to work at the phone company, a job that did not require a high school diploma. There, Delaney met her husband, got married, and raised six children. Delaney now has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren — keeping busy and never looking back to get her high school diploma.
A Birthday Surprise
As a surprise, Delaney’s family reached out to Port Richmond High School’s alumni association in Staten Island, New York. The school’s principal agreed right away, saying, “the decision to give Delaney her diploma was probably the easiest and happiest he’s made all year.”
Delaney’s granddaughter told WABC, “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.”
Delaney belonged to the school’s alumni association for years and has always received letters from them, but had no idea this could happen. Getting her honorary diploma was a true surprise.
Through a family Zoom event, Delaney’s loved ones gathered to see her receive her honorary diploma. There were plenty of balloons and a graduation cap, of course. Delaney was overjoyed. As you can imagine, the whole event was emotional for the entire family.
Delaney’s daughter, Maureen, told People, “[There was] not a dry eye in the house or on Zoom. My mom will be the first to tell you she never dwelled on not getting her diploma. She makes the most of every day and opportunity. It was a way to add a happy ending to what had been a difficult part of her life after losing her mother.”
Delaney has said she never had any regrets because her life turned out well.
“I’m very lucky. I’ve had a good life. This was like the topping on the cake,” Delaney told WABC.
Delaney’s daughter shared her mom’s diploma and birthday story on Facebook (see below), and from there the story went viral. She was even a guest on The Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest Show.
Maureen told People, “She is our Cinderella. She is one great lady who makes the best of everything and has been the foundation for our family.”
We were able to celebrate our beautiful Mother’s 93rd birthday last night. It was perfect. A family zoom event is always…Posted by Maureen Delaney on Tuesday, October 6, 2020