It's an accomplishment decades in the making.

Clare Picciuto, who turned 100 last week, got the best birthday present she could've imagined: her high school diploma.

The North Reading, Mass. woman had to drop out before starting high school so she could help her family make money when the Great Depression hit.

“I didn't like it, because women should have education, too,” Picciuto said. She wound up getting married and starting a family, but she never lost her love of learning. In fact, she would dictionaries and encyclopedias.

"She's been to so many graduations -- my high school, college and grad school ones -- and a bunch more for all of my daughters', but she's never had her own," her daughter, Deborah, said. "So I wanted to give her that."

Deborah did just that, arranging for the North Reading superintendent of schools to surprise her mother at bingo with a cap, gown and honorary diploma.

A school official summed it up best by saying, "Her life experiences alone had earned her the honor tassel and diploma."

As for the accomplishment and recognition, Picciuto said, "It feels good."

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