Getting credit for History: Vets offered diplomas
Being a part of history sometimes means giving up a part of one’s youth, including a high school diploma. For thousands of young men and women in the 1940s, that is exactly what happened.World War II was raging, and young men and women from across the country answered the call to duty, many before they had the opportunity to earn their high school diploma. Today, veterans from World War II or their surviving spouses have the opportunity to be a part of history once again. Veterans residing in Garfield County School District No. 16 in Parachute and Battlement Mesa can proudly don a cap and gown and join the procession of the first graduating class from the new Grand Valley High School.The District 16 school board recently approved participation in Operation Recognition. The program recognizes the life experiences of U.S. veterans who served in World War II. “This is a great way to recognize the veterans that live in the area,” said board member Roy Brubacher. “We hope that there are several veterans who will receive diplomas in the spring, along with the class of 2003.”Brubacher noted that the veterans’ life experiences during the war were just as valuable as any lessons they missed in a classroom. “They were out making history, they had to learn about the geography of the area where they were stationed, they learned a foreign language. They had to be able to adapt to their surroundings, incorporating psychology and sociology.”Operation Recognition is endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education, and about 25 Colorado high schools are participating in the program. By June, approximately 80 diplomas will have been handed out to veterans or their surviving spouses. The program is coordinated by the State Board of Veterans Affairs.Gardner High School in Gardner, Mass., was the first graduation site for Operation Recognition. In 1999, 39 World War II Veterans received their long overdue diplomas. Since then, approximately 100 similar graduations have taken place with more than 3,500 diplomas issued nationwide.Sandy Hanson is the public information director for Garfield County School District No. 16.How World War II veterans can get a diplomaComplete an application and submit a copy of honorable discharge papers to the school district. Applications are available at Grand Valley High School.Applicants must:-Live in the high school’s area or have attended the school or secondary school in the same area.-Have served in active duty between Sept. 16, 1940, and Dec. 31, 1946.-Have been in high school between 1937 and 1946 with a graduation class of 1941 to 1950.-For more information visit: http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/ods/dva/operrecog.htm
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