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California man, 78, gets high school diploma 6 decades later

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Posted at 5:01 PM, May 30, 2022

For 60 years, Ted Sams regretted missing his high school graduation. Now 78 years old, Sams can finally call himself a graduate after donning a cap and gown and receiving his diploma on Friday with the class of 2022 at Southern California's San Gabriel High School.

Back in 1962 when he was a high school senior, Sams was suspended days before the end of the school year. He says he made up an exam over the summer but wasn't allowed to get the diploma because of an unpaid $4.80 book fine. The school had his original diploma in a filing cabinet. He plans to hang it on a wall at home.

“Over the years, I complained to my kids a number of times about how $4.80 kept me from having my diploma,” he said.