CLINTONVILLE-While most of the graduates at the AuSable Valley commencement were thinking about what they would do with the rest of their lives, one already knew because he had been through it.
Shaun Sullivan received his diploma as part of the June 25 ceremony, over 40 years after he had left school and enlisted to fight in the Vietnam War.
"I never thought that I would have a diploma," said Sullivan, who left high school after advancing from his freshman courses. "It is a real honor to walk and graduate with this class of fine students."
Sullivan served in the war from 1969 until 1971, returning home to Exter, N.H. before eventually winding up in the AuSable area in 1980.
He said that he had heard about the program through the VA, and was interested in learning more.
"I didn't have to do anything," Sullivan said. "They got my information and then told me that I would be presented with a diploma."
This was the second year that AVCS had participated in Operation Recognition, allowing certain veterans in New York State the chance to earn high school diplomas if they left school without graduating.