A 95-year-old veteran who fought in World War II instead of finishing high school has finally achieved his dream of getting his high school diploma 74 years later.
Corporal Lewie Shaw was orphaned at the age of 12, dropped out of high school at 17, and worked as a janitor and a school bus driver, KGW reported.
“I was a little hard-headed,” Shaw said. “Algebra was my pitfall at school. I refused to try to learn algebra.”
In 1943, Shaw enlisted in the Marines, where he fought in Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima, and was injured on the battlefield.
“One come out with a phosphorus grenade got me across the backside,” he said. “And I didn’t want to tell anybody. A good Marine doesn’t get shot in the back.”
After the war, Shaw worked for a lumber company for 30 years before he went into business with his son. But he never got his high school diploma throughout all that time. So on Thursday, at 95 years old, he had his high school graduation ceremony.
Commander Murry Estabrook, who organized the graduation, said he was proud to set up the event because it reminded him of his father.
“It gives me a sense of pride to be able to do this,” Estabrook said. “And it brings me back in touch with my father.”
Shaw said that although he was able to get through most of his life without his diploma, he encourages students to today to focus on their education and work hard.
“My advice to them is to keep clawing, continue digging,” he said. “Get that education.”
Shaw is slated to be the grand marshal in the Claremore Veteran’s Day Parade on Monday, WTVR reported.