Army Veteran, 90, Receives Honorary Diploma Decades After Dropping Out to Help Family

Bob Bonhomme dropped out of high school to support his family and was later drafted into the Army

<p>Kayla Miller, Portage Public Schools</p> Robert Bonhomme receiving his high school diploma.

Kayla Miller, Portage Public Schools

Robert Bonhomme receiving his high school diploma.

A 90-year-old Army veteran has knocked off an item on his bucket list — he earned his high school diploma!

Bob Bonhomme, of Portage, Michigan, quit St. Augustine School in Kalamazoo as a teenager so that he could work to support his family, according to a news release from Portage Public Schools.

At 19, he was drafted into the Army, where he fought for 14 months in the Korean War.

Following his service, he went to work for a paper mill, where he worked for four decades while helping to raise four children.

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But throughout his life, Bonhomme thought about his missed academic opportunity — even if he barely had time to do anything about it.

“Life just always got in the way,” he said, per the release.

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Following his retirement, Bonhomme stayed busy being a caregiver to his wife, Norma, until her death 11 years ago.

<p>Kayla Miller, Portage Public Schools</p> Robert Bonhomme.

Kayla Miller, Portage Public Schools

Robert Bonhomme.

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But at a weekly lunch date with his daughter-in-law, Diane Bonhomme, the veteran revealed his long-held dreams to attain his high school diploma and go to prom.

“I saw the desire in his eyes when he talked about it,” Diane said, according to the news release. “Before his life was over, I wanted to make sure he got to enjoy and do those things.”

Diane worked with Portage Public Schools superintendent Mark Bielang and state officials to help her father-in-law achieve his long-held dream.

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On Monday, June 10 at a board of education meeting, Bonhomme was presented with his diploma.

“We are honored to give Bob his diploma, something he sacrificed years ago to serve his family and country,” Bielang said. “Thank you for your service to our country.”

For the nonagenarian, it was a special moment.

"[Diane] asked me a few months ago, 'what did I miss?'' Bonhomme told CBS affiliate WWMT-TV. "I missed graduation and going to prom. Well, I went to the prom; now I got my graduation. I'm satisfied."

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