Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.
Last Friday night was Roger Bacon High School’s graduation in Cincinnati, Ohio. My sister was graduating that night. As my family sat waiting for the ceremony to begin, I leafed through the program, looking at the names of people earning awards, giving speeches, and such. I flipped to the very back page of the program where the name of every graduating student was listed, and noticed something odd. At the very bottom of the right-hand column of names, I saw one line that was separated from the rest of the column by a space: “Charles A. Michel Class of 1953”
I wasn’t entirely sure what this line was supposed to mean. At first, I thought it might just be a typo. Or maybe this was the name of an alumnus that they were going to honor. As the night went on, though, it became apparent that what was going on was something much more special.
It turned out that this Charles Michel was in fact earning his diploma that night. He was a student at Roger Bacon who was on track to graduate in 1953, as the program indicated, but he was just 1.5 credits short of earning his diploma. Instead of going to summer school to make up those credits, Charles decided to serve our nation in the military in the Korean War. While in the military, Charles took the classes that he needed to graduate from Roger Bacon. Once he returned from the service, he was told that his diploma would be waiting for him at the school. But Charles got married, started a career in sales, and had several children and grandchildren. So never got around to picking up his diploma. That is, not until last Friday.
When Charles walked up to receive his diploma at last, the entire gym erupted into a standing ovation. I was truly amazed not only by this man’s perseverance, but by his dedication to Catholic education. While Charles worked to finish his own Catholic education, he sent his own children to Catholic schools. His dedication to Catholic schooling is truly inspirational to me, and I hope that his story will show others the importance of Catholic education.