IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg says he earned his high school diploma through an online program in his home state of Massachusetts.
Wahlberg accomplished the goal more than 25 years after dropping out of high school.
He celebrated finally earning his diploma with members of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens at a ceremony Monday in Irvine, Calif.
Wahlberg reminded teens and adults at the event it is never too late to make a commitment to education.
"The greatest regret in my life is quitting school. I was lucky, but a lot of my friends who did the same ended up incarcerated or dead," Wahlberg said. "Now I have a different perspective: that what's cool in life is being a good person, and doing the right thing. I take any opportunity I can to speak to teens and encourage them, first and foremost, to graduate high school. And today, I'm proud to say I'm leading by example by joining the class of 2013."
The actor, philanthropist and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens ambassador dropped out of high school in the ninth grade.
"Mark Wahlberg reminds us all that it is never too late to go back to school and earn your diploma," said Taco Bell President Brian Niccol, who also serves as chairman of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. "He is an inspiration to the Taco Bell leadership team to commit ourselves to doing everything we can to empower youth to do the same -- starting with our own team members. We look forward to a successful pilot and hope that, in the future, we can further expand this program so that even more team members can use these educational and life skills not only at Taco Bell, but also wherever they choose to work."