WWII Veteran Receives Long-Awaited Diploma 

A World War II veteran got something today he had to wait a long time to receive – his high school diploma.”He had to drop out of school to try and make a living, and so he never got to go beyond 5th grade,” says veterans’ advocate Conrad Edwards.”That was a common thing for his generation. They would leave home to help the family,” says Lee Cabana, chair of the Waterville school board.But 85-year-old Lorenzo LeChance is now officially a high school graduate.”I got something I never believed I could get,” he says.LeChance enlisted in the Army in 1942. He served in the Battle of the Bulge and all around the world.”I enlisted because Uncle Sam, there was a sign there, ‘I Want You.’ And I said, ‘Take me!'”When he got home, he went back to work as the owner of a bakery.Edwards says LeChance thought he’d never see this diploma.”He said, ‘No, they wouldn’t give it to me,’ and I said, ‘Let me call,'” Edwards says.”I’m always looking for opportunities where we can recognize the guys who have given a good portion of their lives in uniform,” Cabana says.While LeChance never finished school, he’s fluent in French and German. Tuesday, Waterville school board members gathered around to hear his stories.”Go in the service, because you can go a long, long way. You might not believe me, but this is what made me,” LeChance says.He says he’ll hang his diploma on the wall with pride and know he earned every bit of it.”He was obviously emotional about it. So we feel good about it,” Edwards says.”It was hard work to survive all these years,” LeChance says, “But we did it.”