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Northwoods veteran gets high school diploma after 69 years Submitted: 06/08/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray

Northwoods veteran gets high school diploma after 69 years
EAGLE RIVER - Sunday was a joyous day for students graduating at Northland Pines High School in Eagle River. Each of them seemed happy to finally get their diploma. But there was one person in the crowd who waited 69 years to get his high school diploma.

"It is my honor to present Ralph May a Northland Pines High School diploma," said Northland Pines District Administrator Dr. Mike Richie.

87-year-old Ralph May was supposed to graduate from Random Lake High in 1945, but he had to leave to serve overseas with the coast guard in World War II.

"I never expected it would come out like this," May said. "Never gave it a thought all my life that this would happen."

Before he left to serve his country, he met his high school sweetheart who's now his wife.

"Not even knowing about it really because I was still in school and he left, you know," said Ralph's wife Violet May. "Then after he came back home our romance started all over again."

May didn't have to take a test or go through finals like normal seniors in high school. All he had to do was call the administrative office.

"He saw this article in the paper. It said that if you had been in service and you left before you got your diploma, you were entitled to one," Violet said.

"The law provides that he may either go back to his high school that he attended or he may receive his diploma within the school district that he now currently lives in," said Richie. "He happens to live in our school district. That's why we did it here at Northland Pines."

These teenagers have a bright future ahead of them and this veteran has a past that we're all grateful for.


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