Four Veterans Receive Honorary Diplomas 70 Years Later

Four veterans receive their diplomas nearly 70 years after they left high school to join the Air Force

When the Springdale School District celebrated the Class of 2022, they also honored four exceptional individuals who would have graduated in 1956 if they had not selflessly chosen to serve in the military. Carl Stults, Bobby Burke, Charles Leroy Moon, and Bob Self, fondly referred to as the “super seniors,” were recognized with honorary diplomas alongside the 484 graduating seniors of Springdale High School.

Back in 1956, these remarkable men were high school seniors, but circumstances led them down a different path, resulting in none of them receiving a diploma from the school. “[…] Springdale didn’t recognize the GED test,” expressed Bob Self. “I got a diploma from Little Rock Central.”

Recently, the district discovered that these honorable men did not receive their well-deserved diplomas from Springdale High School. The revelation occurred when staff encountered them during a lunch outing. Determined to right this wrong, the school administration decided to include them in the graduation ceremony as a surprise for the graduating class.

During the ceremony, Springdale Superintendent Jared Cleveland shared letters from Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Representative Steve Womack to honor the service and sacrifice of these veterans. Rep. Womack wrote, “They served during the time of the Korean conflict and beyond. At that time, they didn’t think about themselves, they didn’t think ‘What about me?’ They answered the call of duty. Is that not the truest spirit of America?”

To further highlight their remarkable journey, educators took a moment to acknowledge each veteran’s exemplary achievements since joining the Air Force in 1956. These exceptional individuals have contributed immensely to their communities and our nation.

While it took 66 years for Carl Stults, Bobby Burke, Charles Leroy Moon, and Bob Self to receive their well-deserved diplomas from their alma mater, the wait was undoubtedly worth it. This heartwarming story reminds us that once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog!

Let us extend our heartfelt congratulations to all four veterans and express our gratitude for their dedicated service. It is because of exceptional individuals like them that we are able to enjoy the freedom and opportunities we have today. Please join us in celebrating their accomplishments and thanking them for their sacrifices.


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