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97-Year-Old Man Frederick Gray Gets High School Diploma 80 Years After Dropping Out During The Great Depression.

A 97-year-old resident of Watertown, N.Y., and World War II veteran, received his high school diploma on Monday, 80 years after dropping out of high school to support his family during the Great Depression. Frederick Gray was given his diploma during a special ceremony at his Watertown home.

Gray was given his Watertown High School diploma by officials from the school and the Watertown School District along with the school's 2013 valedictorian and salutatorian, notes ( Watertown Daily News . Speaking about receiving his diploma, Gray said, ''I'm amazed ... I never in God's world expected to be getting this."

The WWII veteran recently retired as head of New York Air Brake's billing department, reports Watertown Daily Times. Gray had dropped out of Watertown High School in 1934 and was later drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. Gray served during the Pacific campaign earning a Bronze Star during his tenure. Gray joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and later returned to Watertown to work at New York Air Brake to help provide for his mother and two brothers following his father's death.

The ceremony for Gray was set up by his friend Joseph Caronia who worked with the school's principal to set up the presentation. Caronia and school officials wanted to surprise Gray during Watertown High School's graduation ceremony for the 2013 class but instead opted for a quieter celebration.

Unfortunately Gray's brothers and fellow WWII veterans, Robert and James, are deceased but his niece, Deanna J. Shepard, was on hand during the diploma celebration. Salutatorian Mark Derbyshire said Gray's joy put into perspective the importance of a high school degree.

Gray joins a select few of elderly high school graduates but he is not the oldest. That honor goes to Fred Butler, a 106-year-old WWII veteran from Beverly, Mass., according to the ( Boston Globe .
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jun 11, 2013
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