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97-year-old man gets high school diploma

June 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

WATERTOWN, N.Y., June 11 (UPI) -- A 97-year-old World War II veteran finally received his high school diploma in a special ceremony in his New York state living room.

Frederick Gray was presented with a diploma Monday at his Watertown home in a ceremony attended by administrators from Watertown High School and the Watertown City School District along with the Class of 2013's valedictorian and salutatorian, the Watertown Daily Times reported Tuesday.

"I'm amazed ... I never in God's world expected to be getting this," said Gray, who dropped out of high school before graduating in 1934 to support his mother. "I'm just dumbfounded by the thoughtfulness."

Superintendent Terry Fralick said presenting the diploma was an honor.

"I don't have honors like this very often," Fralick said. "I'll remember this for the rest of my life.

The ceremony was planned when neighbor and friend Joseph Caronia discovered Gray had been invited to attend the school's graduation ceremony in 2001, but the invitation had been set aside. Caronia worked with the school to get all of Gray's paperwork in order to make his graduation official.

"He's college and career ready," Fralick said.

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