Mississippi army veteran receives his high school diploma at the age of 84
PORT GIBSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As students from Port Gibson High School prepared to receive their high school diplomas on Friday, they were joined by an honorary class member, Jerry Moon.
“I never dreamed that at 58 years old I’d be going to my dad’s high school graduation,” said Darryl Moon, Jerry’s son.
At the age of 84, Moon is now an official high school graduate. On Friday, he got the chance to walk across the stage, shake the principal’s hand, and receive his diploma.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s just unbelievable,” said Jerry Moon. “I’m just so thrilled I don’t know what to do.”
But for Moon, getting to this point dates back 63 years ago. In March of 1958, Moon was a soldier in the U.S. Army. That year he took and passed his GED.
However, Moon said he never received a signed copy of it because the Army misplaced it. “It was no place to be found,” said Moon.
That same year, Moon was discharged from the military and came back home to Mississippi. Then, one day in October of 1958, something came in the mail.
To his surprise, it was his GED. The veteran then took it down to the high school principal asking if he could now get his diploma, only to find out it was missing a much needed signature.
”[The principal) took it out, he took one look at it, and he said, ‘No, I can’t do that,’” Moon recalled. “I said why not? He said, ‘Because your company commander didn’t sign it’.”
Moon would spend the next six decades trying to find the right people to sign his GED, only to find himself constantly running into dead ends. He was determined not to give up.
In April of this year, his efforts finally paid off.
That’s when Moon said a major in the Army National Guard signed his GED paperwork, making it official.
Moon then called Dr. Kelvin Fuller, who’s the principal at Port Gibson High School, asking yet again, could he receive his high school diploma. Fuller happily honored Moon’s request.
“It’s emotional for me because this is my first time ever doing anything of this nature, so I just wanted him and his family to be excited and be happy,” said Dr. Fuller.
Moon joined 94 others to receive their diploma in the class of 2021 from PGHS. His family was in attendance, and he even carried a photo of his late wife to soak it all in.
For this 84-year-old, the one thing that’s been alluding him all these years is now in his hands, and it’s a moment he said he will never forget.
“I think it’s closure,” said Darryl Moon. “All of his life he’s been trying to get this diploma in his hands. He never gave up on it, you know, and he said he wasn’t going to give up on it. It’s just a big relief and he’s just on cloud nine.”
“It’s been such a long time,” Moon expressed. “It’s been a long road, it ain’t always been an easy road. To get through it all, it’s just unbelievable.”
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