101-Year-Old Man From West Virginia Finally Earns High School Diploma

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Merrill Pittman Cooper

Nationwide — Merrill Pittman Cooper, an African American man from Jefferson County, West Virginia, has earned his high school diploma at 101-years old, finally making his lifelong dream come true.

From 1934 to 1938, Cooper was a student at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a school that admits newly freed slaves during the Civil War. He studied Latin, biology, history, English, and mathematics.

However, he was forced to drop out during his senior year when his family had to move to Philadelphia due to financial reasons.

Over the years, he accomplished a career in the transportation industry. But he still has some regret over not getting his diploma. He told his family about it when he visited the school, which is now part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, in 2018.

His family supported his dream and reached out to the school to make it happen. Finally, he was honored with a special ceremony and diploma on March 19.

“Jefferson County Schools is committed to helping every student, young or old, fulfill their dreams,” JCS superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson-Learn said, ac