EAST RUTHEFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A man who was nearly 50 years old at the time of Woodstock has just received his high school diploma.
Now at 92, he’s five times older than the rest of his graduating class and proving it’s never too late to get your degree.
Walking out to cheers of “USA,” the World War II veteran received one more honor to add to his military achievements.
“I felt so great. I even had tears in my eyes, and I don’t cry that often,” Vito Trause told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
Trause withdrew from East Rutherford High School when he turned 18, determined to enlist in the Army and serve.
“Everybody wanted to go. My brother went in, my other brother went in, and I went in there and that was it,” he said. “I was up in the front line about five or six months, and then I got captured from the Germans.”
Eventually liberated, Trause returned home to New Jersey and on Wednesday night, returned to his former high school – now known as Becton Regional.
“Last night, it was tremendous,” he said.
He would have graduated in 1945. Instead, 73 years later, he’s now the Class of 2018.
Trause, who lives in Bergen County, says he may have been more interested in the high school’s football team than the classroom back then.
“I didn’t learn too much in high school, because I always in sports and everything like that. Today, I don’t think I could keep up with these kids today,” he said.
What lessons does he want students to learn today?
“People should think about our country, respect the flag, respect the servicemen — even the women,” he said.
He even has a sticker on the back of his car that echoes that message.