High school graduation is a special moment, especially when it comes after a 79-year wait. Margaret Thome Bekema received her high school diploma last Thursday in Grands Rapid, Michigan, at the age of 97, and her tearful reaction is giving us all the feels.

Margaret was unable to graduate with her class at Central Catholic High School in 1936 because she had to drop out during her junior year to take care of her mom, who was suffering from cancer. After her mother passed away, Margaret ran the household and became like a mom to her younger siblings. She went on to do clerical work for the military and eventually became a preschool teacher, but she never stopped wishing she’d graduated. Last summer, Margaret’s family contacted the good people at Central Catholic High and told them her story. Officials at the school were clearly as moved as we are by Margaret’s life of love and sacrifice, because they decided to grant her the diploma she’d always wanted. Margaret was presented with her honorary diploma at Yorkshire and Stonebridge Manor senior community, where she lives. We’re guessing it was probably their first high school graduation ceremony, which makes this story all the more awesome. Also awesome—Margaret’s reaction to finally getting her diploma. She cried, you guys! Awwww. Then she said, “I don’t know how to express my thanks… I’m sorry. I’m just plain chicken.” We don’t blame you a bit, Margaret. We’re getting a little weepy over here, too. Congrats, girl.


(Images via Twitter.)