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90-year-old World War II veteran finally gets high school diploma

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CARBONDALE, Pa. — It was a big night for a 90-year-old World War II veteran as he finally received his high school diploma. Ronald Gilroy even walked the stage with the graduating class at Carbondale Area High School.

“I hereby present you with this diploma with gratitude for the service to our country and to our community,” Carbondale Area High School principal Joseph Farrell said.

The World War II veteran was never able to graduate because he joined the Army in 1944.

“When Ron was 17, he quit school and joined the U.S. Army to serve in World War II,” Farrell said.

Gilroy had left school in 1943 at the age of 16 when the high school was then Benjamin Franklin High School. Gilroy said a lot has changed in 73 years.

“Coming to school every day, we didn’t have school buses or nothing,” Gilroy said.

After serving in World War II, he spent another 10 years with the Army, getting married and raising seven children in Carbondale. Some of those children and grandchildren wept as Gilroy received his diploma.

“He always worked to make sure that we had everything that we had and he put as through school and through college so we just thought it would be good to do something for him,” daughter Kim Johnson said.

“To watch my grandfather do something that I had the pleasure of doing at this school and walk across this stage is a very honoring experience, I’m very proud for him,” granddaughter Jessica Brennan said.

“It’s really exciting, I was able to graduate from Lackawanna Trail last year so to see him get to do it, finally deserving of it, it’s really great,” granddaughter Rachel Johnson said. “I texted him the other day to see if he was ready for his graduation, he said yeah, he was really nervous for it so it was cute to see that.”