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101-year-old man presented with high school diploma

Merrill Pittman Cooper, 101, was presented with a high school diploma by Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia more than 80 years after he had to drop out during his senior year. Photo courtesy of Jefferson County Schools
Merrill Pittman Cooper, 101, was presented with a high school diploma by Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia more than 80 years after he had to drop out during his senior year. Photo courtesy of Jefferson County Schools

March 22 (UPI) -- A 101-year-old man who had to drop out of high school in West Virginia in the 1930s was presented with a diploma more than 80 years later.

Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia said Merrill Pittman Cooper, 101, attended Storer College, a former high school in Harper's Ferry, but he had to drop out during his senior year in 1938 when he and his mother relocated to Philadelphia for financial reasons.

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Cooper expressed regret about never graduating during a 2018 visit to the former Storer College campus, leading relatives to reach out to Jefferson County Schools.

Those efforts culminated this month in Cooper being presented with an honorary diploma by Jefferson County Schools in a graduation ceremony attended by his family.

"Jefferson County Schools is committed to helping every student, young or old, fulfill their dreams," Jefferson County Schools superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson-Learn said. "For Mr. Cooper, that meant receiving a high school diploma. We are honored to help make that dream a reality."

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