John Motes had to drop out of high school after his sophomore year in 1933 due to a health condition. 84 years later, he finally crossed the stage as a high school graduate. Motes’ wife Bettye said, “He was smart as a whip. He just never got a chance to graduate.”
His children notified the administration at Goshen High School asking if their father could participate in the ceremony. Assistant Principal Anthony May said, “We asked the seniors if they would be willing to do it, and they were beside themselves excited. It was sprung on us, but we’re so glad it was.”
The school offered, but Motes refused to be allowed to graduate first; he wanted to go in the traditional alphabetical order. He received his diploma to a standing ovation from the crowd. Motes now plans to enroll at the University of South Alabama in the fall, where he will major in music!