'It's something I'll never forget': At age 102, MN man finally gets his diploma

He dropped out of school at 15 to work on the family farm.
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Leon Swendsen is 102 years old, and he finally has his high school diploma.

Swendsen dropped out of high school when he was 15 to work on his family farm and butcher shop, the Rochester School Board says. He went on to serve in World War II and then worked as a Greyhound bus driver for 37 years – with a perfect safety record to boot.

But he always regretted not getting his diploma.

On Tuesday, Swendsen – dressed in his cap and gown – received an honorary diploma from Rochester Public Schools and was recognized as a graduate of the Honorary Class of 2017.

"I'm a sentimental guy and anything like this affects me because for one thing, I don't expect anything," Swendsen told the Rochester Post Bulletin. "It's something I'll never forget."

The ceremony was complete with a small student orchestra playing the traditional graduation song "Pomp and Circumstance," the paper says.

You can read more about Swendsen in the Post Bulletin or in this story by the Star Tribune.

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