After more than 80 years, the 101-year-old American Merrill Pittman Cooper has still received an (honorary) diploma for high school, reports Newsy Today. Cooper attended a school in the state of West Virginia from 1934 to 1938, but had to cut his school career at age 17 because his family moved to Philadelphia. There was no money left to send him to school and he was forced to work.

When Cooper visited the grounds of his former school, Storer College, with family in 2018, it became clear to them how much he regretted never graduating. His son-in-law therefore arranged a ceremonial awarding of an honorary diploma, in collaboration with, among others, the Storer College alumni association and the West Virginia Department of Education.

“I never thought this could happen,” Cooper told the Washington Post. “Even if it took a while, I’m very happy that I finally have a diploma.”

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