100-Year-Old WWII Vet Gets High School Diploma

SARATOGA, N.Y. — Schuylerville Seniors graduated Saturday with one extra special guest, a 100-year-old World War II Veteran, receiving his high school diploma alongside his great-grandson. Time Warner Cable News reporter Emily DeFeciani was at the graduation ceremony in the Saratoga Civic Center and has more.

George Hulka Junior is proof that you’re never too old to earn a diploma.

“The United States declared war on Japan and he was recruited right from that,” said his daughter Karen Austin.

The World War II vet only made it to eighth grade and never had a chance to finish school.

“When he came home from the service he started a family and the family kept him busy. So I believe he really at this point never really thought he would accomplish this,” Austin said.

“It’s really amazing. I know there’s a lot of people that don’t get this opportunity so I’m happy about it,” said Hulka’s 19-year-old great-grandson, and Schuylerville senior, Devin Stark.

Saturday, Hulka was given an honorary high school diploma, graduating alongside Stark.

“I know he’s excited, I could see it in his face when he received the diploma when Devin gave it to him, it was very exciting for everyone,” said Austin.

“I think he’s a very amazing man and I’m very proud of him for his service. He’s my hero pretty much,” said Stark.

Understandably so as the bronze star recipient, drafted in 1941, served as a combat infantryman in the U.S. Army, fighting in the third wave during the D-Day invasion at Normandy.

“He was a little reluctant to talk about his history,” said Austin. “He jumped over bodies, he landed on the beach, he doesn’t like talking about it.”

But Saturday marked a much happier time for Hulka, his great grandson, and their family.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m very proud of both of them. We’re just all very excited, the whole family is,” Austin said.