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At 85, He Finally Got His Diploma from Newport High School

There was a special graduation ceremony for a former Newport High School student in Middletown, Oh.
John Forman is 85 years old, nearly 70 years older than most traditional high school seniors. But when he was a student in Newport in the 1930s and 1940s, times were tough, and as the oldest son, he was expected to leave school to earn money to help support his family. Though he was just one class shy of graduating almost 70 years ago, the principal told Forman that there was not a possibility of taking classes in the morning and then leaving for a job.
Forman declined to appeal to then-Superintendent A.D. Owens.
Life went on for Forman, who served in the Korean War and ultimately earned his GED in 1993. He married and had children, and lost both his legs in a skydiving accident when he was 78 years old. 
Recently, he got to thinking about his high school diploma and reached out to the Newport Board of Education to inquire about how he may be able to finally earn that document. Turns out, Superintendent Kelly Middleton and the Board had agreed several years ago to issue diplomas to anyone who had gone to Newport High School but had to leave to support the family, so they were happy to give Forman a diploma. Since he already had a GED, he had the necessary credits to graduate. Six teachers, a member of the family resource center, and Kevin McCormick, Director of Student Services, traveled to Middletown where Forman lives with his wife, to give him a graduation ceremony on December 12.
Still witty and quick, Forman - clad in cap and gown - opened the diploma and looked at it.
"I wanted to make sure they got my name spelled right," he quipped.
But he was very moved.
Forman's cap and gown were provided by the district for the occasion in which he finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of graduating from high school in front of his wife, children and grandchildren, as well as some friends. It is a gift he will remember the rest of his life.
A video was shown at the regular December meeting of the Newport Board of Education last Wednesday and there wasn't a dry eye in the room.


The Board also presented Middleton's evaluation. In strategic leadership, the score was exemplary, in Instructional leadership he received accomplished, in cultural and managerial leadership he scored exemplary, in human resource leadership and influential leadership Middleton received accomplished, and finally in collaborative leadership he scored exemplary. The board and the superintendent were pleased with the high scores.
In other business, George Sparks came to explain the annual audit, saying the district was in very good shape.
The board voted to retain Timothy Crawford for any outside legal help that could occur.
The board approved a contract with 5/3 Bank for  three new copiers.
A contract for phase 2 masonry in the Welcome Center was approved by the board. The Board also approved a service agreement with Kajeet Educational Broadband for approximately 70 internet devices which allow the high school students to use their Macbooks at home. They agreed to work with the city to install hotspots within the city to increase internet use among the residents who have trouble affording internet service.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor