According to reports, she was about to enter high school during the Great Depression when her parents asked her to leave school to get a job while some of her brothers were allowed to continue their education.
“I didn’t like it, because women should have education, too,” Picciuto said.
Instead of working toward her education Picciuto sewed curtains in a factory for $6 an hour and taught herself using encyclopedias and the dictionary.
“We’d pick up another big word and we’d find the meaning of it. And I tried to speak well if I could,” she said.
As Picciuto’s 100th birthday approached her daughter Deborah Picciuto, 59, told ABC News she wanted to give her mother the graduation she always wanted.
Picciuto’s daughter surprised her with a cap and gown, a gold honours tassel and an honorary high school diploma presented by North Reading Public Schools Superintendent, Jon Bernard.
“I told her that in my opinion, her life experiences alone had earned her the honor tassel and diploma,” Bernard said. “Clare was so articulate, sharp and positive. She is truly representative of all the things we should aspire to be.“