MCCANDLESS, Pa. (KDKA) — For most of us, remembering high school probably feels like a blur of textbooks and lockers and friends in the hallway.
But as a local 94-year-old high school graduate showed KDKA, some things mean a little more later on in life.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict: Pittsburgh Athletes, Coaches, Penguins Organization React
“I’m so thankful that his family contacted us and reached out with this idea and that we were able to come through with it,” said North Hills School District Superintendent Patrick Mannarino.
Mannarino hands out a lot of diplomas, but none of his students are two days shy of turning 95 years old.
“I believe he met the requirements to graduate from high school based upon his life experiences,” said Mannarino.
David Russell Tyson left the old Westview High School Class of 1945 behind, enlisting in the United States Navy.
“He was stationed in Philly, Rhode Island and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” said Supt. Mannarino.
Now seven decades later, Tyson stood in his McCandless living room with his wife of 69 years for this moment.READ MORE: Pittsburghers Gather At Freedom Corner After Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty In Murder Of George Floyd
“Through the power invested as the superintendent of the North Hills School District and by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I declare David Russell Tyson a graduate of Westview High School Class of 1945,” said Mannarino.
In the moment, Tyson was overwhelmed with emotion.
“Thank you very much. This is certainly an honor. I’m telling you I’ll never forget it,” said Tyson.
For Tyson, the paper means everything. It’s worth even more than this handwritten letter from President Harry Truman. It shows him people remember.
“I never expected anything like that. I’m just a plain Joe, that’s all,” said Tyson. “I just figured life keeps on going and you just make the best of it.”
Far from a “plain Joe,” he’s part of the greatest generation and now a proud graduate.
“It’s very obvious that it’s come to a head that people thought about me and they’d go to all this work. I’ll never forget it,” said Tyson.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh And Pennsylvania Figures React To Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
Tyson will celebrate his 95th birthday on Sunday. He just celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary with his wife, Jean, and the couple has two children.