Sisters,who sacrificed education for family, honored by high school

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Friday, January 30, 2015
VIDEO: H.S. honors sisters with Baccalaureate mass
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Because of family reasons, the two women never graduated from high school 60 years ago.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was quite a surprise for two Philadelphia sisters who returned to their old high school Friday morning.

Because of family reasons, the two women never graduated from high school 60 years ago. But today, regret turned to glee thanks to a special ceremony in their honor.

Rosina Squilla and Rickie Descano thought they were going to get a tour of their old high school, Hallahan Catholic School for Girls in Philadelphia.

The sisters attended in the 1950's. They should have graduated, but because of family issues, never did. They should have had their Baccalaureate mass, but never did.

That changed today. And they had no idea it was going to happen.

Hallahan gave the sisters honorary diplomas last year, and decided to top things off today with a surprise greeting by the student body, and a Baccalaureate.

Both Rosina and Rickie became extremely emotional when they learned this.

Rosina Squilla said, "I'm overwhelmed with joy. I'm telling you, you can't imagine. You guys don't know... it's just a beautiful time."

Rickie said, "I'm just overwhelmed."

The sisters agreed to leave high school as juniors and seniors to help their ailing parents, and help raise five younger siblings when mom and dad died.

It is a sacrifice their family will never forget.

Their sister, Julie Palmo, was emotional when she explained, "They never wanted to be reminded that they sacrificed their education for us, because we were seven... But I'm so excited for them."

Rosina and Rickie, side-by-side, were able to experience the Baccalaureate Mass they should have as teenagers.

And Hallahan's current students were able to experience a moment that will be treasured for a lifetime.