Longtime Roseville resident receives high school diploma

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 30, 2016

 Maria Iafrate receives an honorary high school diploma from the Roseville Board of Education at the board’s Nov. 21 meeting in the McLeod Auditorium at Roseville High School.

Maria Iafrate receives an honorary high school diploma from the Roseville Board of Education at the board’s Nov. 21 meeting in the McLeod Auditorium at Roseville High School.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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ROSEVILLE — The last few months have been life-changing for longtime Roseville resident Maria Iafrate, 78, who was presented with an honorary high school diploma from Roseville High School at the Roseville Community Schools Board of Education meeting Nov. 21.

In March 2016, Iafrate applied to become a U.S. citizen, because every 10 years she had to renew her green card. According to her daughter, Rosa Streng, Iafrate was afraid she wouldn’t pass the naturalization test.

Iafrate received her U.S. citizenship Sept. 29 after passing her naturalization test with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

After hearing about Iafrate’s story, the school board decided to award Iafrate a high school diploma.

Living in Roseville since 1960, Iafrate began working at a restaurant and picking up English here and there.

According to Streng, in Italy — where Iafrate is from — having an education was a luxury, so people worked in the fields.

Sitting in the front row of the McLeod Auditorium with her family, Iafrate kept a smile on her face as Roseville Community Schools Superintendent John Kment announced what was next on the board’s agenda.

“Tonight we will be awarding Maria Iafrate with a high school diploma. We thank you for becoming a U.S. citizen, for all that you’ve done in the community, and congratulations,” said Kment. 

Wearing a black mortarboard, Iafrate stood up to accept her diploma from Roseville Board of Education President Theresa Genest and board member Joseph D. DeFelice.

Iafrate had a few words for the audience after she received her diploma.

“I want to say thank you to the United States of America and all the nice people, and my family, and my daughter and my son. I want to thank my family for helping me with this,” said Iafrate.

As Iafrate went back to her seat, she kept saying thank you to everyone.

To celebrate her diploma, Iafrate had dessert with her family at her home.

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