Woman celebrates 93rd birthday with diploma after she was forced to quit school

A 93-year-old great grandmother is celebrating her birthday with the high school diploma she was forced to give up on more than 70 years ago.

Eileen Delaney was forced to leave school early so she could get a job and help her stepmother with the bills.

So, she got a job at the New York Telephone Company.

“It was a good job at the time,” Eileen told ABC 7 News. “Even though I didn’t graduate from high school I still remained friends with everyone!”

Eileen, from Staten Island in New York who now lives in Virginia, lost her mom when she was just 12 years old and her father remarried two years later.

Maureen Delaney / ABC7 News

Her daughter Maureen Delaney organized a birthday blast for Eileen and received hundreds of cards.

“The mailman one day said ‘who are all of these people? I don’t even know this many people'” she said, as per ABC7 News.

Maureen said her niece had another surprise for Eileen after making contact with the current principal of Eileen’s school and she was awarded a high school diploma from the class of 1945.

But the family had one more surprise up their sleeves after Delaney’s niece made contact with the current principal and the alumni association of her former high school and secured her high school diploma from the class of 1945.

Maureen Delaney/ ABC7 News

Family members gathered for a Zoom call to wish Eileen a Happy Birthday and announce the special surprise they had for her.

“I had absolutely no idea, it never ever crossed my mind” a delighted Eileen told ABC7 News.

“We all haven’t been together in a long because of what’s going on with COVID-19,” added Eileen, who has 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

“She is a good person and we just wanted to make her smile,” Maureen said. “She was really surprised.”

Maureen Delaney/ ABC7 News

Such a well-deserved award for this great grandmother who sacrificed her education to help her family out.

Help us wish this very special lady a Happy Birthday by sharing this story.