Florence High School retiree honored with diploma

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FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence City Schools honored several retirees during an assembly Friday morning. But there was one particular retiree who received special recognition...more than 40 years after leaving school.

Two hundred and eighty-five years of total experience is being left behind by this year’s class of retirees in the Florence school system.

After a round of applause, high school custodian James Roy was called to the front of the audience.

“It just kind of caught me off guard, which I appreciate it,” Roy said.

Not knowing what was going on, Roy sat as he was praised and roasted. Present and former administrators who worked with Roy spoke of his character and talents.

Roy plays a mean saxophone for a band called “The Midnighters”.

He’s also been a counselor to several kids over his 19-year career.

James Roy, Florence High School staff member

“Brings a tear to your eye you know, I wiped a few of them. Yeah, I didn’t have any Kleenex. I’m just not good at that stuff you know. Stuff like that kind of tears me up," Roy said.

But over his lifetime one thing he never received was his high school diploma. Roy joined the Army during Vietnam while still in high school.

“I had a draft classification, I was still in there when the draft was going on,” Roy explained. “So I was classified Class 1A which meant I was going to go.”

Wiping back tears, a choked up Roy was called on stage and received a Florence High School Diploma. Attaining a goal he had always wished for.

Roy had received enough credits while in the Army to be considered a high school graduate, he just never got a diploma.