It’s not every day that you see a man in his 90’s receive a high school diploma. While most people will receive theirs sometime in their teens, Lou Schipper had been without one his whole life. Why? Because Lou decided to enlist for World War II before he had a chance to graduate.
After his time serving in the Navy during the war came to an end, Lou returned home and began working as an electrician. A diploma, at the time, was not something that would hold him back as much as it would today, allowing him to perfect a trade and find steady work. Not to mention, he was a very skilled electrician.
"Lou is next to a genius. He can do anything," said Lou’s wife, Dottie.
Entering his ninth decade, Lou decided to finish up what he had been working on before he entered the war as young man--graduating high school. And he intended to graduate from the same school he had been attending when he was sent off to war: St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.
Dottie said he would walk a mile each day to and from school, sometimes catching the bus “if he had a nickel left.” Now, some 70 years after he would have graduated if he had stayed, Lou was set to finally receive his diploma.
Lou didn’t even know that veterans could enroll in school to complete unfinished diplomas until he ran into an old classmate of his, George Wood. Wood told Schipper he could go back to St. Xavier and they’d let him take classes, so that’s what he did.
George and Lou meeting back up was all orchestrated by George. After Lou had made such a positive impact on him in high school, George started asking old friends about Lou and his whereabouts, eventually finding him and setting a time to reunite.
"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 laughed. "We were comfortable high school kids sitting on our you-know-whats, when he was fighting the war over there in the Pacific."
Dottie said that Lou was reluctant at first, but knew that he was secretly very excited to 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?'" joked Dottie. "He didn't act like he was really excited, but he was really excited."
The moment Lou graduated was an emotional one, and not just for himself. Vice President of Advancement at St. Xavier was moved to tears during his speech for Mr. Lou Schipper:
"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."
"I really appreciate it," Schipper said. "I never thought I'd make it."
Source : expandedconsciousness.com