Super seniors: 4 Air Force vets added to Arkansas graduating class after 70 years

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — An Arkansas high school added four special graduates to its Class of 2022 ceremony.

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Four men who joined the Air Force and missed their graduation ceremony in 1956 joined Springdale High School’s 484 graduating seniors on Saturday, KHBS-TV reported.

Carl Stults, Bobby Burke, Charles Leroy Moon and Bob Self were awarded their diplomas at Bud Walton Arena, according to the television station.

Springdale school officials said they learned about the four men missing their graduations while meeting them at the Wagon Wheel Country Cafe in Springdale, KFSM-TV reported.

“These guys, that whole class, they meet I think once a month for lunch,” Springdale Principal Jason Jones told the television station. “They are true Springdale Bulldogs, they are all about Springdale.”

“I took a GED test when I went into the Air Force and at the time, Springdale didn’t recognize the GED test,” Self told KFSM. “I got a diploma from Little Rock Central.”

Self said he traveled around the world during his service, visiting Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“I don’t want people telling me what to do and I’m like ‘OK, I joined the Air Force,’” Self told KFSM. “But about two days after I got there, they were really telling me what to do.”

Springdale Superintendent Jared Cleveland read letters from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack at the ceremony, KHBS reported.

“They served during the time of the Korean conflict and beyond. At that time, they didn’t think about themselves, they didn’t think ‘What about me?’” Womack wrote. “They answered the call of duty. Is that not the truest spirit of America?”

During the ceremony, educators listed the men’s achievements after their military, KFSM reported. That included owning successful businesses, raising racehorses and working in the poultry industry.

Jones said including the super seniors, which was a surprise for the Class of 2022, was a teachable moment for the new graduates.

“They’re going to learn honor, they’re going to learn respect, it’s just going to be a special moment for them,” Jones said before the ceremony.