In a prelude to Memorial Day, five veterans were presented high school diplomas at the May 17 meeting of the Sacramento County Board of Education. The ceremony, held at the David P. Meaney Education Center, was attended by dozens of family members and friends of the honorees. Soloist Symphoni Barbee, a senior from West Campus High School, performed the National Anthem and the Marine Corps League of Folsom Color Guard conducted the opening flag ceremony.
Del Campo High School senior Bridget Hanson read her award-winning essay, "Why We All Should Appreciate America's Veterans," and received a $500 scholarship from SAFE Credit Union, sponsor of SCOE's 2016 Operation Recognition Essay Contest. SAFE Credit Union Director Herb Long presented Hanson with her scholarship check.
Diplomas were presented through SCOE's Operation Recognition program, adopted in 2001 to retroactively honor U.S. veterans and Japanese American citizens who missed graduating with their high school classes due to wartime circumstances.
Board of Education President Eleanor L. Brown, Ed.D., remarked at the ceremony, "We don’t thank our veterans enough for all that they have done for our country. And we also don’t do enough to honor those Japanese-American citizens whose lives were interrupted during World War II. We truly believe that this simple and dignified ceremony is one way that we can respectfully honor these men and women. In the words of our late President John F. Kennedy, 'As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.'"
A reception before the meeting featured music by the West Campus High School jazz combo, plus hors d'oeuvres, including food prepared by students of the Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School Culinary Café. Cake was served following the ceremony.
- James Buchanan (Korean War, U.S. Air Force)
- Robert Hitson (Vietnam War, U.S. Army)
- Marrion Ray (WW II & Korean War, U.S. Army)*
- Dennis Slack (Vietnam War, U.S. Marine Corps)
184 diplomas have been awarded; 11 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. The next awards ceremony is scheduled for May 16, 2017.