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Four veterans finally got their high school diplomas almost 70 years after they left school to join the Air Force

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The Springdale School District paid tribute to its graduates of 2022, simultaneously bestowing honorary diplomas upon four remarkable individuals from the Class of 1956.

Carl Stults, Bobby Burke, Charles Leroy Moon, and Bob Self, affectionately termed “super seniors,” were finally recognized alongside the 484 fresh graduates of Springdale High School.

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Back in 1956, these men were on the cusp of completing their high school education when they chose to serve their country in the military, a decision that led them to forego their high school diplomas.

Bob Self shared his experience, noting, “I took a GED test when I went into the Air Force and at the time, Springdale didn’t recognize the GED test. I got a diploma from Little Rock Central.” It was a serendipitous encounter during a lunch that brought to light the oversight of the district not awarding them diplomas from their high school.

The ceremony was made memorable not only by their inclusion but also by the poignant message it conveyed to the audience. Letters from Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Representative Steve Womack were read by Springdale Superintendent Jared Cleveland, highlighting the veterans’ selfless service during the Korean conflict era.

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Womack’s letter emphasized the quintessence of American spirit, stating, “They served during the time of the Korean conflict and beyond. At that time, they didn’t think about themselves…They answered the call of duty. Is that not the truest spirit of America?”

In addition to recognizing their military service, the educators also detailed each veteran’s achievements since their enlistment in the Air Force in 1956, underscoring the long overdue acknowledgment of their contributions and sacrifices.

The gesture of awarding these honorary diplomas, 66 years in the making, resonated deeply with the sentiment, “Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog! ❤️🐾🎓.” This event was not only a celebration of the academic achievements of the graduating class but also a profound thank you to the four veterans whose actions embody the values of service and sacrifice.

The Springdale School District’s recognition serves as a heartwarming reminder of the impact of honoring our veterans and the importance of acknowledging their sacrifices. It stands as an inspiring message to current and future generations about the value of service and the enduring bond within the community.