WWII vet gets surprise high school graduation 77 years later

Raymond Schaefer didn't get to finish his high school career at Racine County School of Agriculture because of his choice to serve in World War II. So although he never walked the Waterford Union High School halls, Thursday, he walked out with his well-deserved diploma. 

"Today, we are blessed to experience one of those significant moments in time with Mr. Raymond Schaefer," Principal Dan Foster said.

Raymond Schaefer, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, officially graduated from high school Thursday.

Upon returning from the war, he worked hard in the Milwaukee equipment manufacturing business for almost 40 years, ultimately, not finishing his high school education.

"He’d say things like 'well, I wish I had a high school diploma but I was just too dumb.' But it's like, that wasn’t the case at all. He quit school to support his family," family friend Cynthia Bennett said.

Cynthia Bennett

Greeted by the Waterford Union High School marching band, school board members, teachers and students, family and friends—the surprise graduation was successful.

"It's great. I thought of it many times but never got around to it," said Schaefer.

In addition to his diploma, Schaefer received an honorary medal commemorating his time at Racine County School of Agriculture since its doors closed in 1959. 

Raymond Schaefer

"I proudly present to you an Aggie, a graduate of 1943, recognized on this day, March 18, 2021," Foster said.

A life milestone that came right on time. 

"This is really something," Schaefer said.