This 78-year-old man finally graduates from high school 60 years later after finishing school

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Ted Sams waits to receive his high school diploma during his graduation ceremony.(PHOTO: Getty Images)
Ted Sams waits to receive his high school diploma during his graduation ceremony.(PHOTO: Getty Images)

It's taken Ted Sams 60 years, but he's finally graduated from high school.

Ted (78) thought he’d never get his diploma after missing out on his 1962 graduation because he’d gotten into some teenage mischief – and owed the school $4,80 (then about R3,40) for an overdue library book.

Ted recently joined the San Gabriel California High School class of 2022 and got his high-school diploma, much to the delight of his family.

“I didn’t expect to be here 60 years later.

“In fact, I never thought I’d ever walk that stage after I walked away from getting my diploma in 1962”, he said.

Sams and the class of 2022
Ted finally received his diploma after failing to pay a library fine in 1962. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Recounting the events that led to him not getting the diploma, Ted said, “It was the dog days of our senior year and we were just bored stiff.”

After joking around in a photography class, Ted and a friend were caught and punished by the vice principal for photographing people without their consent.

He was suspended, and missed his final exam and graduation.

Ted went to summer school to make up for the time he’d lost during his suspension.

READ MORE| How I obtained my master's degree at the age of 75.

Then he couldn’t get his diploma because of the overdue library book fine.

“So I just walked away from it and said, 'Forget it',” he says.

“Over the years, I complained to my kids a number of times about how $4,80 kept me from having my diploma,” he says.

After repeatedly telling his children about regretting this and wishing he would graduate, his daughter, Sherry, decided to surprise him by asking San Gabriel High, in Los Angeles, if they could reprint his diploma so he can attend his graduation.

Surprisingly the school never got rid of it and agreed.

“It was there in a box, in senior archives,” Sherry says.

Ted got an invitation to attend his graduation on 27 May and brought his wife and five children. 

Sams graduating
Ted is now a graduate of San Gabriel High School's class of 2022. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

While it's unclear what Ted did for a living, finally getting his high school certificate proved to be a great achievement for him. He says the graduation was one of the highlights of his life.

“Actually, when he walked and got his diploma, every person on that stage hugged him and then the whole class applauded for him,” Sherry says.

While Ted admits considering paying the library fine, he decided not to.

“I was going to pay it all back. But then I thought, 'No, they kept it for $4,80. I’m not going to pay that back',” he says.

“They never asked me for it either.”


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