It is said that age is never too late to learn. Also, an old adage says, "Better late than never". A nearly 100-year-old man from Pennsylvania gave these aphorisms a whole new meaning when he received his high school diploma recently.
Albert Montella, a 99-year-old Navy veteran who lives at an assisted living center in Media, Pennsylvania, and weeks away from his centenary birthday, earned his high school diploma finally after dropping out of school over 80 years ago. "It's exciting because I never expected it, I really never did. This is a far dream of this ever happening to me," an ecstatic Montella told the media.
Serving His Family and His Country
Montella dropped out of high school in 1938 in order to assist his family financially. He later enlisted in the Navy and served his country. Sadly, serving the family and then his country, kept the great-great-grandfather from finishing schooling. According to his family, Montella spent most of his career working at the Media courthouse after serving in the Navy, and put their needs ahead of his.
However, he did not give up, and 82 years after discontinuing his education, he fulfilled his dream of getting his high school diploma. "My grandfather made many sacrifices. Leaving school in order to help raise our family and here he is almost 100, so we're very thrilled," told Michelle Archie, Montella's granddaughter, to WPVI-TV
His Time to Shine
As his family said, it was Montella's time now after serving the world throughout his life. His family and friends were present to witness the nearly-centenarian finally receive his diploma from the Rose Tree Media School District superintendent, where he lives at the Sunrise of Granite Run Senior Living.
"He served our country, he's supported and helped his community and all of that without asking little in return. So at the age of 100, we get to finally honor him in some small way," said Dr. Eleanor DiMarino-Linnen, Rose Tree Media School District Superintendent.
An Inspiration for All
Among the friends and well-wishers who attended the ceremony were members of the Brookhaven Fire Company, where Rob, Montella's grandson serves as the chief. Dave, another grandson, works as an engineer for the department, while RW, his great-grandson, is a lieutenant.
"Congratulations goes out to Albert Montella, grandfather of Chief Rob Montella and Engineer Dave Montella, and great grandfather of Lt. RW Montella. Albert received his High School Diploma today from the class of 1938. He turns 100 next month!! Continue to drink your wine and eat your pizza on Friday nights !!," said the fire station unit in a congratulatory post.
Ralph Harrison, Principal of Penncrest High School also expressed his greeting to the new graduate. He said, "His story says that you never give up. No matter what happens in your life, there's always an opportunity for you to achieve a goal."