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77-year-old finally receives his Union High School diploma

Originally posted May 14, 2019

Six decades after dropping out of Union High School, 77-year-old pastor fulfills lifelong goal of graduating. Leo Johnson, 77, receives his diploma with the Class of 2019!

Six decades after dropping out of Union High School, 77-year-old pastor fulfills lifelong goal of graduating

Of the nearly 1,300 students who graduated from Union High School on Monday night, Leo Johnson stood out.

That’s because the longtime pastor of a small church in north Tulsa is 60 years older than the other graduates, who included two of his grandchildren.

Johnson, 77, delighted in surprising the thousands of people watching the ceremony at the BOK Center.

Only a handful knew Johnson’s secret before his name was called during the superintendent’s commencement speech. He kept it hidden from family members in the audience. He even kept it hidden from the graduating grandkids sitting within shouting distance of him.

“It was tough to keep a lid on it, I tell ya,” he said.

But the surprise was worth the wait. Johnson’s grandchildren are partly his inspiration to go back to school. He wanted to make the moment as special for them as possible.