NAMPA -- An 89-year-old World War II veteran celebrated a memorable milestone Thursday -- his high school graduation.
71 years ago, George Jones missed his graduation from Kuna High School. Instead, at age 18 he enlisted in the Army.
Jones says the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor motivated him to enlist, just as it did many young men and women at the time.
Everybody was very patriotic, said Jones. I got caught up in that and decided I'd get involved in the war.
After his tour of duty was over, Jones returned home to Idaho. But he never got his diploma from Kuna High School.
Sure I regretted it, said Jones. I knew I made a mistake.
Last September, Jones rode on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial.
When he returned, Jones gave an American Flag that had flown in Washington D.C. to Kuna High School. He was even invited to share his story of service and sacrifice at the annual Veterans Day assembly.
I remember sitting in the bleachers and thinking 'wow, that guy is amazing, we have to do something,' said Kuna High senior Bailey Jo Bartlome.
Bartlome came up with the idea to invite Jones to graduate with them as part of the class of 2013.
When graduation day arrived at the Idaho Center, Jones was ready.
Class of 2013, thank you, Jones told the audience at the Idaho Center Thursday night. I am humbled and emotional ... proud to be a member of your class.
George Jones is now a graduate of Kuna High, diploma in hand.
I'm really excited that we got to do this for a man who deserves to graduate, but never did, said Bartlome.
So what's next? Will Jones go on to college?
Yes, he said I'll be at BSU this fall. I'll be in section 7, at Bronco Stadium several Saturdays.
To see Maggie O'Mara's report, click on the play button above. On mobile, go to the videos tab.