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Sacramento County Office of Education Sacramento County Office of Education

Belated Diplomas Awarded to U.S. Veterans at 2018 Operation Recognition Ceremony

195 Diplomas Have Been Awarded Since 2001

In a prelude to Memorial Day, seven veterans were presented high school diplomas at last night’s Sacramento County Board of Education meeting. The diploma ceremony, held at the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) David P. Meaney Education Center, was attended by family members and friends of the honorees. The Marine Corps League of Folsom Color Guard conducted the opening flag ceremony.

Diploma Recipients

  • Ernest Arthur Costa (WW II / Korean War)
  • Telesfor Lucero (WW II / Korean War) *
  • Michael John McCoy (Vietnam War)
  • Harold Glen Price (Vietnam War)
  • Ronald Lester Van Sant (Vietnam War)
  • Jessy Sheldon Vincent (WW II)
  • Tom Zayas (Korean War)

* posthumous award

Diplomas were presented through SCOE’s Operation Recognition program, adopted by the County Board of Education in 2001 to retroactively honor U.S. veterans and Japanese American citizens who missed graduating with their high school classes due to wartime circumstances. District Director Matthew Ceccato also presented the graduates with certificates on behalf of Congressman Ami Bera.

A reception held before the meeting featured hors d'oeuvres prepared by students of the Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School Culinary Café. Families and friends gathered for photos and refreshments following the ceremony.

Essay Contest Winner

In conjunction with the ceremony, Elk Grove High School senior Matthew Seto read his award-winning essay, “How a Veteran’s Courage Contributes to My Freedom,” and received a $500 scholarship from SAFE Credit Union—the sponsor of SCOE’s 2018 Operation Recognition Essay Contest. SAFE Credit Union Director Herb Long presented Seto with his scholarship check.

About Operation Recognition in Sacramento County

Operation Recognition high school diplomas are authorized by the California Education Code (§ 51430–§ 51442). Since the program’s start in Sacramento County, 195 diplomas have now been awarded; 14 of those have been presented posthumously to surviving family members of veterans and Japanese American internees.

Those interested in applying for the Operation Recognition diploma for themselves or a qualifying family member may contact SCOE at (916) 228-2416 or download an application form online. The next awards ceremony is planned for May 2019.


Diploma recipients posing with Board of EducationMay 2018 Operation Recognition diploma recipients posed with Sacramento County Board of Education trustees and County Superintendent Gordon.

Matthew Seto and Herb Long

Elk Grove High School senior Matthew Seto won the 2018 Operation Recognition Essay Contest and was presented with a $500 college scholarship courtesy of SAFE Credit Union.

[Photo Gallery]

Sponsored by [SAFE Credit Union]