Ninety-Seven-Year-Old Grandmother Finally Graduates From High School

Ann Colagiovanni left school at age 17 to help out her family but always wanted to finish her education. Now she has, in a way.


Nearly a million students drop out of high school every year and many make the decision because they're under pressure to get a job and help their families out. That's what happened back during the Depression when 17-year-old Ann Colagiovanni left school to go work in her dad's grocery store. But Colagiovanni always wanted to finish her education. Now she has, in a way. Last week her Shaker Heights, Ohio high school awarded the now 97-year-old with an honorary diploma.

"When I told her she was getting a diploma, she sobbed as if a pain had been relieved from her heart," Colagiovanni's daughter Emilia Colagiovanni Vinci told Cleveland's FOX 8. "I never knew what it meant to her. She wanted this." Indeed, in the video above you can see how emotional Colagiovanni is as she holds her diploma, which is dated June 1934, the year she would've graduated from high school.

While Colagiovanni didn't actually go back and finish classes, it's nice to see someone who had to make such an early sacrifice honored this way. We hope she tries to beat the record set last year by 99-year-old Leo Plass, the oldest person to earn a college degree (and another student whose educational plans were derailed by the Depression).