Ohio

WWII Navy Seabee awarded high school diploma at 90

90-year-old World War II Navy Seabee Lou Schipper was awarded his high school diploma Friday. (St. Xavier High School)

90-year-old World War II Navy Seabee Lou Schipper was awarded his high school diploma Friday. (St. Xavier High School)

A man who dropped out of high school to fight in World War II earned his high school diploma Friday at age 90, according to a report Saturday.

Lou Schipper persuaded his mother to let him enlist before he graduated and never looked back, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He became a Navy Seabee in the Pacific.

The graduation ceremony was held at a senior living residence in Cincinnati with Tony Schad, a representative from St. Xavier.

Schad choked with emotion as he presented Schipper with his diploma.

"Mr. Louis Schipper, on behalf of your classmates from St. Xavier High School class of 1946, the faculty, staff and administration, I'm happy to officially welcome you to the long blue line, St. X," Schad said, the paper reported.

The school heard about Schipper from one of his old classmates, George Wood.

"He was the only freshman in the class who was interviewed with callouses on his hands because that farm boy knew how to do a day’s work," Wood told the paper.

Dottie Schipper said her husband was reluctant at first to become a high school graduate.

"He said, 'What the hell do I need with a diploma? I'm 90 years old. Do you want me to get a resume and go to work now?'" she told the paper. "He didn't act like he was really excited, but he was really excited."

The Navy discharged Schipper after the war and he became an electrician.

He worked until he was nearly 60.

Schad told the Enquirer that Schipper represents all the best things about St. X.

“I really appreciate it,” Schipper said. “I never thought I’d make it.”