Woman receives high school diploma 80 years later
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan woman has been awarded a high school diploma more than 80 years after she left school to help her mother raise her five younger siblings.
Ruth Frezza, 98, received her diploma Sunday during a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Mount Clemens, The Detroit News reported .
Draped in a white cap and gown, she was escorted into the room in a wheelchair by her daughter and son. Her granddaughter, Kim Becker, played “Pomp & Circumstance” on her violin to start the ceremony.
“I’m all mixed up,” Frezza said. “I’m so happy.”
She had dropped out of Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores when she was a sophomore in 1936. Her family began seeking out the diploma decades later after hearing the details of her education.
“My mom was just real chatty that day, and started talking about things from her past, and about how she quit school to take care of her siblings before her mom went to work, and I’d never heard that before,” said Eileen Kuha, Frezza’s daughter. “I mentioned to my daughter Niki, and Niki took the ball and ran with it.”
Niki Posner reached out to administrations at the school, and Frezza’s family initially sought only a symbolic printed diploma.
But Lake Shore Public Schools Superintendent Joe DiPonio decided to officially add Frezza to the class of 1938, after learning of her decision to stop school to help raise her five younger siblings.
“Her parents needed the help, so she kind of took one for the team there,” DiPonio said. “(Frezza is) all we could possibly hope for as a member of our student body.”