HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC/AP) — A 93-year-old Army veteran from Mechanicsville is finally getting a diploma more than 75 years after World War II interrupted his education.
James Yarbrough received an honorary high school diploma during a ceremony that was held Monday at Washington-Henry Elementary School to honor local armed services veterans.
“I never expected it to happen,” Yarbrough said while holding back tears. “I should’ve pursued before now, I guess.”
Yarbrough joined the U.S. Army during his senior year in high school before he was able to graduate in 1943. He attended the former Washington-Henry High School.
“Just being here with the veterans and the kids. It was quite an honor,” the 93-year-old veteran added. “I never expected such an occasion.”
School officials managed to track down Yarbrough’s records after family members reached out on his behalf in hopes of making a moment like this happen.
“That started the process of us doing some historical checking,” Lisa Thompson, principal of Washington-Henry Elementary School, explained. “Trying to find information on Mr. Yarbrough and what records we had here in the county.”
After the celebration, Yarbrough was treated to a trip down memory lane, receiving a tour of the school
“They’ve been mighty supportive,” an emotional Yarbrough said of his family, who helped make the special day happen. “Couldn’t have made it.”