Nearly 80 years after he dropped out of high school, Walter Rolley Jr. of Columbia, Missouri, has his diploma, at age 97.

Nearly 80 years after he dropped out of high school, Walter Rolley Jr. of Columbia, Missouri, has his diploma, at age 97.

The Columbia Missourian (http://bit.ly/2i1OaDF ) reports that Rolley wore a royal blue cap and gown last week in receiving his diploma at the historic J.W. "Blind" Boone Home. Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman read a quote by Frederick Douglass in honoring Rolley: "Without a struggle, there can be no progress."

Rolley left high school in 1937 to go to work. A few years later, he joined the Army during World War II. He never went back to finish his education.

State lawmakers in 2001 adopted a statute known as Operation Recognition, which grants honorary high school diplomas to veterans and civilian prisoners of war.