Courtesy of Dearborn Public Schools
Courtesy of Dearborn Public Schools

She went from dropping out of high school during the 1930s Great Depression to receiving an honorary diploma during the 2020 pandemic.

DEARBORN, Mich–It was the mid-1930s when Jacqueline Junker was forced to drop out of high school by her father, according to the Dearborn City School District. As the eldest of seven siblings, she had to help support the family financially during the years of the Great Depression. 

Not finishing high school was something Junker always regretted, according to her granddaughter, Erin King. 

Junker was in the 9th grade when she left school. Because of the financial crisis at the time, many other high school students had to quit school in order to help make ends meet.

Prior to the 1930s, school and education were valued by most households. However, the financial hardships made education a luxury that many could not afford at the time.

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Fast forward to 2020, Junker’s family wanted to make her 100th birthday one for the ages—during a time when the nation is suffering from another source of depression. 

Her family coordinated with Fordson High School and arranged for her to obtain an honorary diploma on her 100th birthday. 

According to the Dearborn Public Schools website, Junker, received a graduation cap, a tassel, and a 2020 shirt. 

Junker was presented with her diploma via Zoom call by the Fordson principal, Heyam Alcodray.

He says she was “extremely thankful.”