WWII Veteran Surprised With High School Diploma 70 Years After Leaving School

TAYLOR -- It's not quite the time of year for graduation, but a man in Lackawanna County finally got his high school diploma more than 70 years after he left school.

A World War II veteran received that diploma at his old high school in Taylor Tuesday night.

Clearly emotional, George Fricovsky can now add high school graduate to the list of his lifetime accomplishments. It’s an achievement that's taken 72 years to become a reality.

The 90-year-old received his diploma at Riverside High School during Riverside's school board meeting.

Making matters even more emotional, giving George his diploma was Riverside's Vice Principal David Walsh, who happens to be George's grandson.

“To be an administrator of this school district where he went and be able to give him this is huge,” said Walsh.

George left the then-Taylor High his junior year in 1944 to fight in World War II.

Stationed in France, he was injured by a German hand grenade and was honorably discharged with a Purple Heart.

Back stateside, he joined the work force and raised a family.

“He's always talked about his one thing he wishes he was able to do was to graduate high school,” said Walsh.

This was all a surprise for George, planned by his family. George only thought he was going to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the board meeting.

“I was really surprised, never expected this,” said George.

“We wanted to surprise him and David did a great job, so we're happy. We're happy he got it,” said George’s daughter, Diane Nagy.

“It was great. I know my mom was watching down from heaven and she's definitely proud of him,” said George’s daughter Karen Walsh. “He always felt unaccomplished growing up without the diploma, so now he has it.”

So now what are the big plans for graduation night?

“I'll see what they want to do,” said George. “Find out who's going to pay.”

Luckily, his family had some ideas.

“Yeah, he still likes karaoke,” said Karen.

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