90-Year-Old WWII Navy Veteran Gets High School Diploma

It’s high school graduation season across the state and it’s likely few graduates have been as waiting as long for the big day as William Tobin.

Tobin couldn’t believe the reaction he received during graduation rehearsal at Rockville High School in Vernon.

The 90-year-old is also thrilled he’s part of the class of 2017 and joining them for graduation on Thursday.

“The class took to him as one of their own. They love him. He’s a very charming gentleman and of course deserves all our respect,” Andrew Rockett, Rockville High School Principal, said.

Back in 1944, Tobin left high school early to serve in the Navy during World War II.

When he returned, he married, built a home and raised three kids.

But decades later on his bucket list was receiving his high school diploma.

The veteran couldn’t believe the response when he asked Rockville’s principal for help.

“’You got the diploma, guaranteed. You don’t have to worry about it.’ I said, ‘How about that history course.’ Tobin said. "You made history, you don’t need it."

While he met state rules for retired military members to receive a diploma, there was a catch: he’d have to pick it up on graduation day.

“That’s not too tough. I can go down in the morning, get the diploma and be out for lunch. No, no, no. Then he sprung it on me,” Tobin said.

“We invited him to participate in this ceremony. And he said, ‘Would that mean in cap and gown?’ And it was, yes,” Rockett said.

So now Tobin is ready and will receive the diploma he’s always wanted, surrounded by his family including his grandkids.

“Well I’m really excited about it,” Tobin said.

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