GREENFIELD, Ind. - More than 300 students graduated from Greenfield Central High School on Saturday – but one of them had waited a little bit longer than the rest.
Joining a group of smiling teenagers was 91-year-old Walter Worland, who received his diploma this weekend 72 years after leaving high school.
"Instead of graduating with his class in 1942, Mr. Worland saw a greater need to serve his country," an announcer said at the ceremony.
Worland, a lifelong Greenfield resident, never did finish high school. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII, part of "The Greatest Generation."
"Education wasn't important," Worland said. "It was survival at that time. That's how your whole generation felt. The whole generation … we were in the Depression."
Greenfield Central Schools trustees said they were "very proud, honored and humbled to award [Worland] this long overdue and well-deserved high school diploma."
Debbie Wilkerson, Worland's daughter, said it was a momentous occasion for her father.
"It's just such a wonderful justification," Wilkerson said. "He has always prized education and helped his community so much. I think it's a beacon to everybody how important education is and that it's never too late."
At 91, Worland still logs volunteer hours with Meals on Wheels, the American Red Cross and the Greenfield Rotary.
The former Greenfield City Councilman and Board of Zoning Appeals member funds scholarships for students at four local high schools. And, he's credited with helping to bring a new library to Greenfield Central Junior High.
"I feel real honored," Worland said. "It's a day I looked forward to for several years I guess. Life just goes on, you just put things off, and this is one of them I enjoyed very much. And now I'm bawling."
After serving his community and country, Worland says this is something that's been on his bucket list. After 72 years, he's finally crossed it off.
In addition to his honorary diploma, Worland also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.
Underride crash backs up I-465 on SW side
A driver was taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after a car crashed into and under the trailer of a semi.
Lafayette police find missing 12-year-old girl
Lafayette police were searching for a missing girl who did not come home from school Tuesday, and they announced Wednesday morning just…
Reserve deputy resigns after Indy 500 incident
A Marion County sheriff's reserve deputy resigned after he was caught on camera using a stun gun on an Indy 500 race fan.
Ind. schools postpone sports events amid heat
Some Indiana schools postponed athletic events as a precaution while stifling heat continues its hold across the state.
Democratic candidate: Statehouse lacks ethics
The Democratic candidate for Indiana auditor says he would work to crack down on public corruption if elected in November.
Report ranks Ind. No 1 in school vouchers
Indiana has taken the top spot in a report that focuses on school voucher programs.