VALHALLA - A Valhalla woman, who retired at the age of 83 to fulfill her lifelong dream of teaching, celebrated her 99th birthday at Virginia Road Elementary School.

For the last eight years, Lillian Spiegler has been volunteering with Jon Battista's second-grade classroom.

"She's very inspiring,” said Battista. “She has such a love and passion for coming in."

Spiegler’s love of teaching was fostered early in her life by gaining an academic diploma. She then put her dream on hold to get married and start a family.

Last week, the school threw her a surprise birthday party. Her cake had 100 candles, including one for good luck.

"Just looking at their faces brings me into seventh heaven," Spiegler told News 12.