49 Years Later A Graduate

Friday, May 16th 2008, 10:47 pm
By: News On 6

A high school diploma marks a rite of passage for most teenagers. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports on Friday for Bob Ridenour, it was a long-awaited graduation.

As the moment of graduation gets closer, there are last minute pictures and talk of future plans. The arena is filling up with family and friends, all full of pride and anticipation.

For one family they're there for a special senior, as in, senior citizen.

"It's always been a big deal, good grades, got to graduate, you've got to get that diploma, because it's something that he never had," said Bob Ridenour Jr. of his dad.

"These kids have been so good to him, they just took us right in like he's one of them," said Bob's wife Jean Ridenour.

They can't wait for Bob Ridenour to graduate.

"I've been looking forward to this for so long," said Bob Ridenour.

At 67-years-old, he's by far the oldest graduate and he's likely the most excited and grateful.

"I'm the only one in the family that never received a diploma," said Bob Ridenour.

It was 1958, after bouncing around between divorced parents and other family, and getting into some trouble, a couple of county sheriff's strongly urged him to join the military.

Not long after, Bob Ridenour was aboard a ship, instead of a stage with the Class of 1959.

"They made a man out of a smart aleck kid," said Bob Ridenour.

Ridenour always wanted to finish high school, but life got busy. Between time at sea and eventually raising a family, Ridenour never got his diploma. It's always bothered him.

"I've got a driver's license and all kind of papers that say I'm everything, but nothing to say I'm a graduate," said Bob Ridenour.

All these years later, a program allowing veterans who quit school to join the military to now graduate has led to Ridenour's dream finally happening.

"I'm overwhelmed, because I just didn't think this day would happen," said Bob Ridenour.

So now, 49 years overdue, the great-granddad is now a new graduate and forever a Skiatook Bulldog, a moment he'll treasure.

Ridenour has four children, 11 grandkids and three great grandkids with one on the way. They were all so excited for him. Ridenour was excited, too.

He says he can't wait for his 10 year class reunion.