93-year-old Mechanicsville veteran receives honorary diploma: ‘Never expected it to happen’

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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.”

James Yarbrough

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.”

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