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WWII veteran receives high school diploma

Lou Nichols left Grandville High School in 1945 after being drafted into the U.S. Army.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It is across the stage at Covenant Living of the Great Lakes that Lou Nichols walked to receive his high school diploma.

"I was so proud," said Nichols.

He should have been in the Grandville High School graduating class of 1945 or 1946, but World War II interrupted that. Nichols was drafted to the U.S. army on March 18, 1945. He would spend two years as a Military Police Officer in Italy.

With all of his life experience, the one thing missing was his high school diploma.

"Amazing that this takes place at my age," said Nichols. "I never had a diploma, I always wanted it but I never got it."

All he finally accomplished something that every high school senior dreams of, his friends and family watched the ceremony that honored not just Nichols, but also teachers and educators.

His son Rocky said he's proud of his father.

"The joy is just unmeasurable," said Rocky Nichols. "I know that Dad is just overwhelmed with being able to have this."

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Scott Merkel of Grandville Schools, who handed Nichols his diploma, says there's a lesson here.

"School is important," said Merkel. "A diploma is important but I think the lessons are more of the life lessons, what we get out of that opportunity and that experience and you could see that on the smile on Lou's face."

That smile is not going away anytime soon.

"Always wanted it but never did it and here it is," said Nichols.

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