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73-Year-Old Man Graduates After More Than 50 Years

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- After more than five decades one man is finally getting his high school diploma.

"We'll have a final list after practice," a voice announces over the loud speakers at the Guntersville High School auditorium.

Anxious seniors packed the auditorium Thursday afternoon.

They were ready for the rehearsal to end, because at seven o'clock that evening, those Wildcats would make the transition from students to alumni.

Sitting two rows up, wearing a red Guntersville High School hat, sits Mr. Tommy Battles.

He's graduating too.

"It's just so awesome," Battles says, "I just, here I am, seventy-three years old and I'm getting a diploma."

That's right. He's 73 years old.

Thursday he finished what he started more than five decades ago. "I started out, I was going to Marshall County High School back in 57, 58," Battles says.

But times got tough."But then I had to quit school because I had to go help my mom and dad because they couldn't make it," Battles says, "They were having a hard time."

So he joined the Marine Corps, and now years later, he's accomplishing something he's always wanted.

Several organizations helped him make it to this milestone, and Thursday night he'll have the title of Alumni.


"It's just, I'm flabbergasted," Battles says.

He says he plans to continue to work after his graduation.

The school held a reception for him and his family prior to the ceremony.

Filed in: Northeast Alabama

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