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89-year-old veteran finally gets high school diploma after over seven decades

Roy Collett was unable to graduate from Manuel High School in 1951 after he was enlisted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — J. Graham Brown School’s class of 2023 stepped into the next stage of their lives Friday.

Unknowingly, among them was 89-year-old Roy Collett who has watched his daughter Angela Parsons graduate over the years.

"I ended up getting my PHD, which I wouldn't have without all of the encouragement of my dad," Parsons said.

But this year, the principal of Brown School decided it was Collett's turn to get a diploma.

“On this momentous day, I offer my sincerest gratitude for your service, my deepest respect for your accomplishments, and congratulations on your high school diploma," Parsons said during the ceremony.

Collett was unable to graduate from Manual High School in 1951 after he was enlisted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

"It was just one of those things you had to do," he said.

But thanks to his proud daughter, and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), he got the chance to do what he's always wanted.

Jefferson County School Board policy allows honorably discharged veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War to receive official high school diplomas if they failed to finish high school before enlisting.

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