A 90-year-old World War II veteran was surprised last week with a meaningful piece of paper he’s wanted for more than 70 years: a high school diploma.
George Fricovsky of Taylor, Pennsylvania missed our on his high school graduation after dropping out to enlist in the army ABC News reported.
Fricovsky attended a school board meeting under the impression that he was going to lea the Pledge of Allegiance. But, after the pledge was over, he was given a framed diploma.
“Pop was in tears, straight tears,” said Fricovsky’s grandson, David Walsh, who happens to be a vice principal at Riverside Junior-Senior High School in Taylor. “It was something that he’s always wanted, something he always deserved.”
The moment Fricovsky received his diploma was caught on video.
In 1944, Fricovsky left high school at 17, and by the next year, he was wounded in battle in France by a hand grenade thrown by German soldiers, his grandson said.
“After getting hit, he laid in pain for 11 hours before he was finally taken to the hospital,” Walsh said. “After that, he was honorably discharged with a Purple Heart.”
Although Fricovsky never went back to finish high school, he worked hard to give his family a “good life,” Walsh said.
“Over the years, my grandfather would occasionally mention feeling unaccomplished because he never got to get his diploma,” Walsh said.
Graduation season inspired Walsh to approach the school board about giving his grandfather the simple thing he’s always longed for.
“I’m so happy we were able to do this for him,” Walsh said, calling Fricovsky an “amazing grandfather” who always tries to “get a smile out of everyone.”
“He’s worked hard for everything he’s got, and he deserved this piece of paper.”