ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Roughly 130 students graduated from East High School in Rochester on Saturday, and one of them waited more than 70 years for that moment.
Henry Ross, a 93-year-old Rochester native and WWII veteran, attended East High School in the 1930s up until his junior year.
"The reason I never graduated was because after my junior year, I had a summer job, and before my senior year, I needed another job to contribute to my family’s finances,” said Henry. “I continued to work until I was asked to join the armed forces."
Henry went on to be a radio operator and gunner on a B-24 Bomber, completing more than 50 missions in 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart. After the war, he completed an Associate’s Degree at RIT and joined the workforce.
"He's always wanted to get his high school diploma, and I'm happy we were able to make that happen. I think Mister Ross is a living example of what we try to instill in our own students. Be persistent, be vigilant and to give back to your community as much as you can," said Dr. Shaun Nelms, Superintendent.
For those at the very beginning of their lives, the advice from someone with as much experience as Henry serves as a shining example that for those who work hard and strive for their dreams, anything can be possible.