A graduation 70 years in the making

Donald Dodge was supposed to graduate from Hancock Central High School with the class of 1944. Instead, he is a proud member of the class of 2014, perhaps the proudest.

Dodge’s journey from high school junior to octogenarian graduate is the stuff of Hollywood. As Dan Roblee reported in Tuesday’s Page 1 story, it didn’t necessarily take a village to get Donald a diploma, but it did take 70 years and the help of some good friends.

A childhood illness forced Dodge to begin kindergarten a year late. Consequently, he became eligible for the World War II draft before completing high school.

Following his military service, Dodge attempted to get his diploma but an apathetic principal, caused him to forego his attempt and enter the job market.

Despite two separate 20 year careers, first as a milkman and then as a groundskeeper, his desire for that elusive diploma never waned.

He told his friend Paul Ollila, an educator himself, that while he wasn’t worried about that diploma, he still wanted it.

And on Monday, he got it. In a small ceremony in the boardroom at Hancock High, Donald Dodge was handed a diploma, 70 years behind schedule.

Graduation time finds these kinds of stories throughout the nation. Seniors who went to war, started families or businesses and eventually got the sheepskin. Such is the pull of education. That sense of accomplishment. We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Donald Dodge for his service to our country in World War II, and our sincere congratulations as a member of the Class of 2014.