Entries in Diploma (2)


Oklahoma Valedictorian Denied Diploma After Using 'Hell' in Her Speech

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(PRAGUE, Okla.) -- The father of a recent high school graduate in Oklahoma who has been denied a diploma because she said "hell" in her valedictorian speech has accused her principal of bullying his daughter.

"She became a senior and he constantly picked on her," Kaitlin Nootbaar's father, David, said of Prague High School principal David Smith. "I thought bullying wasn't supposed to be allowed in school."

Neither Smith nor superintendent Rick Martin responded to messages asking them to comment.

In her speech, Kaitlin, 18, told her Prague, Okla., audience about how she has changed her mind numerous times about potential career choices, her father said.

He said Kaitlin spoke of how she once wanted to be a nurse when she was younger, but then wanted to become a vet. She summarized her dilemma, her father said, with, "How the hell do I know? I've changed my mind so many times."

The teen told her parents she drew inspiration for her speech from the movies Eclipse, which is the third installment of The Twilight Saga film series, and The Hunger Games.

Eclipse includes a graduation scene in which the speaker says, "Who the hell knows."

Kaitlin's speech was met with laughter and applause, her father said. The class valedictorian walked the stage and graduated along with the rest of her class.

Her transcripts were sent on to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and life went on as usual until she and her father went to collect her diploma from the high school office last week.

"The principle shut the door on us," David Nootbaar said, "and told us she [Kaitlin] will type apology letters to him, the school board, the superintendent and all of the teachers," in order for her to obtain her diploma.

Kaitlin has told her parents she does not intend to write the apology letters but, her father said, still believes she is entitled to the diploma.

The straight-A student who has "never received a B in her life," her father said, is now enjoying her first days at college at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

She has decided to major in biology, her dad said, to become a marine biologist -- for now.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


97-Year-Old High School Dropout Gets Diploma

In this screenshot provided by Fox8, Ann Colagiovanni, 97, receives an honorary diploma at Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio.(SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio) -- A 97-year-old Ohio woman who dropped out of high school during the Depression to help support her family finally received her diploma this week at the same high school she once attended.

Ann Colagiovanni, who arrived in America with her parents on a boat from Sicily in the early 1900s, dropped out of high school in 1931 when her father asked her to help at the family’s butcher shop. She never returned to high school, according to Peggy Caldwell, director of communications for the Shaker Heights, Ohio, school district.

Years later, as her grandson Thomas prepared to graduate from Shaker Heights, Colagiovanni received a surprise: her old high school would present her with an honorary degree marked with the date 1934, the year she would have graduated had she not dropped out.

“It is very rare, and it’s honorary,” Caldwell said. “We can’t stand up there and say she got all the requirements, but you could tell it meant a lot to her. She kept looking at it pointing and saying ‘That’s my name on there! That’s my name!’”

Colagiovanni’s daughter, Emilia Colagiovanni Vinci, arranged for her mother to receive the diploma at the same graduation as Emilia’s son. The school held a private ceremony for the grandmother on Wednesday, with the superintendent dressed in full academic robe, and then Colagiovanni wore her graduation gown to her grandson’s larger ceremony on Thursday.

“She came to her grandson’s graduation in her wheelchair with her little cap and gown on,” Caldwell said. “She’s just adorable.”

At the small ceremony just for her, Colagiovanni talked about growing up during the Depression, wearing the same dress to school everyday because she could not afford another one, Caldwell said. She would wash the dress every night and iron it each morning, hoping it would wear out so she could buy a new one.

Emilia Colagiovanni brought her mother’s old yearbooks, showing the students the "brand new, state-of-the-art" high school that had been built for them in the 1930s. That building, which Shaker Heights students still use today, is now considered old and outdated, Caldwell said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio