GOSHEN, AL (WSFA) - A 101-year-old man, John Motes, graduated with Goshen High School's senior class of 2017 on Thursday night. Motes, who should have graduated in 1933, had to d rop out of school after his sophomore year due to a health condition.
When he turned 18, he joined the Air Force as an engineer and served during World War II.
"He was smart as a whip," Motes' Wife, Bettye Motes, said. "He just never got a chance to graduate."
Motes' children reached out to school administration to see if it would be possible for him to participate in Thursday's ceremony about seven months ago.
"We asked the seniors if they would be willing to do it, and they were beside themselves excited," Assistant Principal Anthony May said. "It was sprung on us, but we're so glad it was."
Motes did not want to go first in the procession. He wanted to go in the traditional alphabetical order. He accepted his diploma before standing ovation from the crowd.
His next move will be to return to Mobile, where he now lives with his wife, and apply to the University of South Alabama in the fall.
"I'm going to major in music," Motes said.
Motes' children said his goal is to live to be 107.