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As It Was: Jack Stevens Graduates 74 Years Late

Jack Stevens was a popular kid in Coquille, Ore., in the 1940s, serving in high school as class president for several years.

Following the footsteps of his idolized uncle Keith, who had captured six German soldiers during World War I, Stevens signed up for military service at the end of World War II.

Stevens had expected to report for duty after the Class of 1945 high school graduation, but the U.S. Marine Corps ordered him to start training immediately in San Diego, and shipped him to China.  Stevens missed the graduation ceremony and did not receive a diploma.

Two years later, Stevens returned to Coquille to work in the family store, the Glasgow Grocery. When he retired at age 85, Stevens was the self-proclaimed mayor of Glasgow and a two-decade member of the North Bend School Board.  But he still hadn’t received that diploma. Things changed in June when Stevens put on a red cap and gown and joined the commencement ceremony with graduates of the Coquille High School Class of 2019.  Stevens crossed the stage to applause and received his diploma – 74 years late.

In return, Jack Stevens saluted.


Ward, Jillian. "WWII veteran walks with Coquille High School's graduating class." The World, 3 June 2019 [Coos Bay, Oregon] , theworldlink.com/news/local/education/wwii-veteran-walks-with-coquille-high-school-s-graduating-class/article_2fcb97fd-dc98-5c4c-aa9a-314b70ecfe34.html?fbclid=IwAR0v8vA5vDE1n4rNBSrjEnSGf_dMAJB.

Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.