Veterans at ceremony presented diplomas

Updated July 19, 2003 11:36 PM

Story last updated by The Daily Ardmoreite
at 12:41 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, 2001


Navy veteran Robert Wilhite, right, was one of five veterans who received a high school diploma from Ardmore City Schools Board of Education President Bill Owen during Monday's Veterans Day ceremony at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Ardmore.
Staff Photo/Don Alquist


Veterans at ceremony presented diplomas

Receiving a high school diploma is commonly considered a proud moment and sometimes an emotional experience. Getting that diploma more than 50 years after high school makes the feelings even more extreme.

A change in Monday morning's Veterans Day program at the Oklahoma Veterans Center created a nice experience for several veterans in attendance.

Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Derrith Welch, ASC board president Bill Owen and Jeneva Matlack, an administrative assistant, joined more than 200 people at the OVC observance to award five of seven such diplomas authorized by the school board under a recently enacted state law. The audience gave each recipient a round of applause as Matlack read a brief background and diplomas were presented by Owen and Welch.

Outher Richards and James Riggs were attending school in Ardmore when they entered service. Eugene Gambel, another Ardmore student, will be awarded his diploma during an upcoming school board meeting.

Also present Monday were Ernest White, formerly of Elmore City, and Robert Wilhite, formerly of Atoka. Elbert Lone, a former Cedar Hill and Russett student, was awarded his diploma in his room.

One official said presentations were a touching moment for the veterans -- one that became so emotional in one instance the official had to step aside.