62-year-old set for high school graduation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

62-year-old set for high school graduation

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Allen Malmoe likes to laugh just like the other students waiting to graduate from East Valley high school.

He walked across the stage of the Opera House on Monday and practiced accepting his diploma while shaking hands with school administrators, but at the age of 62, Allen Malmoe is by far the oldest member of East Valley's graduating class of 2009.

"I'm the senior senior," he said with a smile.

Malmoe enlisted with the United States Marine Corps in March of 1966. He was three months shy of his high school graduation.

"I missed some of my youth," he said, reflecting on the fact he never returned to earn his diploma.

Malmoe toured Vietnam then returned to the Northwest where he married, worked various jobs and raised a family.

He will receive his diploma Monday night as part of a government program that recognizes veterans of WWI, WWII and Vietnam who left high school early to enlist in the military and serve their country in war.

"Last night I didn't get much sleep," he said. "I was nervous, I was just getting as nervous as a senior graduating from high school."

Malmoe said he's always regretted not going back to school. He hopes to instill a love of learning in his 11-year-old son.

"There are so many distractions for all students today," he said. "I think parents everywhere should be commended for getting their kids through high school."

To that end, Malmoe will attend his high school graduation with his two parents, both in their 80's. Like every other student, Malmoe asked his parents to sign his permission slip so he could attend the ceremony.

They obliged.

East Valley High School graduation starts at 8 p.m. at the INB Performing Arts Center, also known as the Opera House.

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