In a particularly heart-warming graduation season, a trio of viejitos just managed to upstage everyone. Close pals Julian Lopez, Tony Romero, and Lupe Malacate – men entering their ninth decade of life – earned their high school diplomas this week. Back in 1944, the three were drafted during World War II, so they dropped out of Los Angeles’ Abraham Lincoln High School to serve their country, according to NBC Los Angeles. On Monday, they fulfilled their 70-year-old dream of graduating high school. And for U.S. Navy veteran Lopez, the moment filled him with butterflies. “I’m more nervous than when they drafted me!” he said.
The three men have Connie Miranda – Lopez’s daughter – to thank. She contacted the school district and pushed for them to be recognized. The ceremony put Connie in the special position of seeing both her parents graduate. Before Lopez went off to war, he married Henrietta Lopez. However, married students weren’t allowed to pursue a high school degree back then, so Henrietta also dropped out.
Watch ABC’s profile below, and pay special attention to Lopez, who couldn’t stop cracking jokes: