A 97-year-old woman has finally earned her high school diploma seven decades after being forced out of school for being pregnant.

Iris Weatherwax, 97, of Grand Blanc Township, Michigan got married to her childhood sweetheart, Lloyd, and became pregnant in 1938. She was forced to drop out of school before giving birth to her son, James, who is now 79. James is the oldest of the couple’s four children.

Family members recently learned the story behind Iris’ unfinished education.

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“What got me was the school at that time said when she asked to go back they wouldn’t let her,” Iris’ niece, Paula Clarambeau, told M Live. “They said things had changed, so I said she would have graduated with flying colors because she’s smart and intelligent and has done so much work in the community.”

Iris worked several jobs over the decades, but not earning her high school diploma was one of her biggest regrets. Her family worked with Davison Community Schools to arrange a special ceremony to honor Iris with a diploma.

She was so shocked by the surprise that she leaned over to James to ask if she was allowed to cry.

“When she asked her son if it was alright for her to cry, I thought, ‘Wow, this really matters,'” said Davison Community Schools superintendent Eric Lieske. “It’s meaningful and it was certainly a touching opportunity, and I’m glad that the family allowed us to be part of it.”

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