WW II veterans eligible for high school diplomas

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 5/26/99.

Minnesota high school students who came of age during World War II entered the "real world" in ways that make most of our passages to adulthood seem small. Having survived childhood during the Great Depression, many went as teenagers to fight in Europe and in the South Pacific.

Veterans returned from the war, raised families and led industrious lives. Some who had left high school early to serve their country were not, for personal reasons, able to get GEDs or further their education after the war ended. Some are still living and are without high school diplomas.

John Janotta, Paynesville Area High School Principal, said the Minnesota school superintendents and high school principals are joining a nationwide effort to grant these veterans real high school diplomas, as opposed to honorary ones, from their hometown schools.

"We are looking for World War II veterans in the Paynesville area. If they are interested in receiving a diploma, they should contact the school," Janotta stressed.

Minnesota's 87 Veteran's Service Offices are helping with the legwork of identifying veterans if school districts agree to award the diplomas. Many schools across the nation plan to award the diplomas to World War II veterans on Veteran's Day, Nov 11, at ceremonies where students can see and hear from members of another generation.

The awarding of high school diplomas is a way to show tangible gratitude to the World War II veterans in our communities, at a time when many veterans of this war may not be with us much longer. Every month now, more than 30,000 American veterans of World War II die. We need to hear their stories now, if we have not yet done so, and we need to express thanks.

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