Newark resident to get overdue high school diploma

May 27, 2018 by  

James Burrell, 80, will receive his high school diploma this year, and it will be a case of ‘better late than never’.

Burrell should have graduated in 1956. However, a guidance counselor steered him wrong, and he found he did not have enough credits to graduate. He has had a successful career, serving as an assistant chief of the Newark Fire Department, but always wanted to get his diploma.

Burrell’s apparent inspiration for his effort is his great granddaughter, Kayleah Allen, who went to summer school last summer, giving up a job to do so. He says she wanted to get caught up to her class, which made him think perhaps he should get his diploma.

He went to the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County where he studied locating information, grammar, math, and welding. He recently found out that he successfully earned his state certification as a welder, which completes the qualifications he had to finish to graduate.

The only disappointment is that he will not be able to join Kayleah in the Newark High School commencement ceremonies, because he did not take high school classes – he studied a program of adult education. This means he will receive his diploma from the state of Ohio rather than Newark High School. He will be 81 when he finally “graduates” from high school.

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