William Broadbent received his diploma 52 years after he left school to join the U.S. Navy.
It was an emotional and memorable night for U.S. Navy veteran William W. Broadbent Jr., who recently received his high school diploma from the Frontier Central School District.
The awarding of his diploma comes 52 years after he had to leave school to serve in the military. This is part of a program called Operation Recognition, which school districts can honor veterans who served in war and had to leave school to do so.
Broadbent says he heard about this program after going to the V.A. and forgot about the diploma.
“I went back [to school] when I was in the service and I did take some of the exams,” Broadbent said. “Never heard nothing about it. I can honestly say I forgot about it cause we’re so busy.”
During his time in the service, Broadbent was a ship serviceman, a barber, and even a firefighter. Broadbent says the service helped give him a sense of direction and allowed him to grow as a person.
“I just decided to go into the service. That was the best move I ever made,” he said. “To this day, I tell people ‘Don’t know what you want to do out of high school? Try the service.’”
Broadbent did not know he was the only recipient at the school board meeting.
“The diploma meant a lot to me,” Broadbent said. “Maybe I should have fought more for it and went and got it. But it’ll be on my wall, cause I’ll treasure it. Because it’s something I shoulda got.”
Broadbent has driven a motor coach for 37 years and if he had the option to go to college today, he said he’d be interested in business. He says working for so long has taught him so much.
“But I feel like over the 52 years, I learned a lot of knowledge. And that’s what I learned from it, you should have gotten your education. Education is everything,” he said.