WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Vivian Young would’ve graduated with the class in 1943. Instead, he chose to enlist to fight for his country.

“I don’t know if my dad himself would’ve sought out the diploma even though there were opportunities where he probably could have. I think in that way he probably would’ve felt like maybe that was to brag,” Vivian’s daughter Vanessa Young-Fields said.

He served as a special aviation engineer for then the Army Air Corps, now the U.S. Air Force, during World War II.

Despite Young never returning to school, he was known as a very intelligent man.

“My dad was a WWII vet, he has a bronze star, multiple bronze stars, good conduct, he was a strong advocate of knowing. He was a strong advocate of reading the newspaper and watching the news. Having books on daily occurrences. So I felt he was well educated” Young-Fields said.

Young was very passionate about education and pushed all four of his children to graduate from Hirschi High.

Principal Doug Albus arranged to present to his family the diploma he missed out on.

“So this was so important because for my dad to have an honorary diploma to be awarded to him, particularly the school he made us all graduate through”, Young-Fields said.

This is the first time Wichita Falls ISD has presented an honorary diploma but school board president Mike Rucker says he’d like to see more of it.

“I think it’s very important to honor them even after they pass away. I mean we should while they’re still here but after they pass away to remind us all the sacrifices they made to get us where we’re at today,” Rucker said.

Young was a family man and community activist so everyone agrees that this diploma was well earned.
Young died this past March at 97 years old but his family says his legacy, is not one to forget.

“I think his legacy is being a strong good man who loved God, loved his family, and loved to know that we were in a learning process every day. Every day he was learning” Young-Fields said.

If you know military personnel who might be eligible for an honorary diploma, Rucker suggests contacting the superintendent’s office for more information.