Fred Butler was honored Monday at Beverly High School with a special ceremony attended by family and teenage members of the class of 2013 at the school's library, and was presented with an honorary high school diploma, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
"I want to thank everybody who is responsible for this," Butler said. "I never expected to get anything like that. I really appreciate it."
Relatives said Butler had to drop out of school in the eighth grade to help support his mother and five siblings, but often talked about how he regretted not finishing school. They said he has always encouraged his family members to do well in school.
"He talked about it a lot," said Cathy Butler, a relative who took the lead in helping Butler get his diploma. "He regretted not having his diploma, but he stands for all the values a high school community hopes to represent."