A, 85-year-old World War II vet received his high school diploma in a Bixby assembly on Thursday.
Bill Tinsley received his diploma during a special student assembly.
"I always thought I could do it, if I just took the time, settled down and tried," Tinsley said.
He dropped out of high school to get a job, and later served in World War II.
Tinsley says he always knew he needed more education, but life got int he way. He got married at 20, went to a trade school, became a pastor, had five children, still never straying far from his goal.
"I thought well, you can only check out so many books from the library or read so much history," Tinsley began. "I love history, so why not get my GED?"
Despite receiving his diploma today, Tinsley says he's still focused on finishing math and getting that GED.
"I wanted to earn something, and, so here we are."
"We're just so proud that even at 85, he still has that vitality of life that he wants to experience something new," Kathy Moore said.
Moore,the oldest of Tinsley's five children, teared up talking about her father's accomplishment.
"He's always done without, all our lives to support us, and for him to do something for himself, it just makes me so proud of him."
But for Tinsley, he says it's not about him. Rather he hopes the occasion serves as a challenge to others to always strive for more.
"And let them know that they can do it," he says. "As long as you’re breathing, as long as you’re alive, you’ve got a chance to improve yourself."
Tinsley started working with GED instructor Chuck White through the Asbury Learning Center to study for the GED when he learned about the Diplomas for Veterans program which offers diplomas for honorably discharged veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
"He has been working hard with me to prepare for and pass the GED test as a way to encourage a grandson, but with this program he will receive his diploma instead," White said. "Although he could pass the GED test, he will continue to participate in adult learning classes to further his education."
The Union Adult Learning Center, operated by Union Public Schools, is a regional program based in Tulsa and offers a variety of classes for adults in Tulsa, Rogers, Osage, Muskogee, and Wagoner counties. Union offers GED classes and GED testing, English as a Second Language classes, Family Literacy classes, Workplace Literacy classes, and others.
For more information, visit <http://www.unionalc.com