Vietnam Vet Finally Gets His Wm. Mason High School Diploma
In 1969, 18-year old Steve Mullins left the halls of Mason High School two courses shy of his high school diploma and enlisted in the U.S. Army. While he never regretted his service, that missing space on his wall where the high school diploma should have hung haunted him ever since.
So, when MHS Media Center Aide Jim Fox (and fellow MHS classmate) sent Mullins a link to the MHS Lip Dub kicking off the school’s fundraising campaign for Leukemia, Mullins responded and shared how much he would like to close that chapter in his personal history.
“I don’t know if you can remember, but during March of our senior year I was turned into the draft board because I was carrying and only needed 1.5 credit hours to graduate. Unfortunately, a full time student needed to be carrying two full credit hours so that made me a “part time” student and available for the draft. When I was notified, headstrong me decided on the spur of the moment that I would drop out of school, and went to an Army recruiter to enlist. Oh, the mistakes we make when we’re young that we regret for the rest of our lives,” Mullins wrote to Fox in an email.
Fox shared that email with MHS Principal Dave Hyatt, and Hyatt shared the email with Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline. The result? During the April 26 school board meeting in front of a packed house of MHS students, Steve Mullins was awarded his William Mason High School Diploma.
“I stand here today on behalf of our entire faculty, our administration, our School Board and our community to thank you for your service to our country. I also want to thank caring, dedicated people like Jim Fox, Dave Hyatt and our students - whose passion for serving others has led us to this moment. Now, for the part you have been waiting for for 47 years… As superintendent of the Mason City School District, I certify that Steven Mullins has met all of the requirements set forth by the Mason City School District and the state of Ohio. By the power vested in me, I hereby declare Steven Mullins a graduate of William Mason High School!” proclaimed Dr. Gail Kist-Kline.
Mullins’ diploma even used the cover art from his high school - the current Mason Middle School. The new graduate was visibly moved.
“This has been at the top of the bucket list for a long time. I’m just very grateful,” shared Mullins, who drove the 19-hour journey to Mason from his home in Colorado.
Ohio law allows honorably discharged veterans who served in specific wars or conflicts to receive their high school diploma. If you or someone you know left William Mason High School early to serve in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam and are interested in applying for your diploma, please contact the Mason City Schools Public Information Office at 513-398-0474, option 7.
Watch WLWT Channel 5’s coverage.
Read the Chronicle’s coverage.