60 years ago, George Philips of Houston, Texas, dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Navy.
Back then, he was a student at Dickinson High School and played for the school’s undefeated ninth-grade football team. He dropped out in 11th grade to join the Navy to serve in the Vietnam War for three years.
George was awarded a Vietnam Service medal and a National Defense Service medal -- and actually took the time to earn a GED during his time in the Navy. But he never was given a proper high school diploma -- until now.
He learned that the Texas Education Code allows school districts to issue high school diplomas to veterans who meet certain qualifications. George met those qualifications -- and a ceremony was held.
George -- who is now 77 years old -- was able to wear a royal blue graduation cap and gown while receiving a high school diploma in front of his friends and family. And during the ceremony, three band students played “Pomp and Circumstance.”
School district superintendent Carla Voelkel wanted to honor George for his efforts at school, but also honor George for his military service. She said during the ceremony, “We can go to school each day, we can choose which church we want to attend, and we can live wherever we want to live because of the continuous sacrifices that have been made by veterans to protect us and to defend our rights."