BERKLEY, Mich. (WJBK) - In an amphitheater full of graduating Berkley High School seniors Thursday night, one of these grads was not like the others.
Larry Crotts is 69 years old. This year would have been his 50th high school reunion, but instead of graduating with the class of '66 -- Crotts was in the Navy, serving our country in Vietnam. He enlisted at the age of 17.
During his time in the military, he continued his education and eventually earned his GET. But, he says, that wasn't good enough for his mama.
"When I called my mother, I'll never forget it. I called her and I says, 'Mom, I've got my GET equivalency!' and she said, 'That's not a diploma!'" he remembers with a laugh.
Crotts would eventually go on to get married and raise a family, but he never forgot about the promise he made to his mother to graduate high school.
The vietnam vet put in a call to Berkley High and then hit the books.
"Believe it or not, I'm the first veteran in Michigan to go through with this program," he says. "It just makes me really happy that I can be first in something."
Which leads us to a very special night at the Meadowbrook Amphitheater June 9. With a tear in his eye, Crotts received his long-awaited high school diploma.
He has this advice for other high school students.
"It can only help you. You're not going to get hurt by doing well in school. So what the heck? Go ahead and do it!" he says.
For a little more motivation, Crotts tell us he lives by these six simple words: "Fear not, expect good, and be happy."