MONTCLAIR, NJ - Luke Walsh was awarded his high school diploma on Thursday evening, over 71 years after leaving Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair to defend his country.
 
In the spring of 1943, while a sophomore at Montclair Immaculate Conception High School, Walsh wanted to fulfill his patriotic duty to join his five brothers and defend his country.  Walsh traded his Immaculate uniform for Navy Khakis.
 
 
While his classmates were still completing their high school studies, Walsh says that he was dodging bullets on the beaches of Okinawa and helping his ship lay down a smoke screen to protect the fleet from Japanese kamikaze pilots.
 
During his tour of duty, Walsh also evading enemy fire while transporting marines to the beaches of Iwo Jima.

 
Once the war ended, Walsh attempted to finish his high school education at Immaculate, however, the administration told him that he had then become too old to attend high school.
 
Surrounded by family, friends and fellow officers, school officials now took steps to rectify that situation and present Walsh, the Class of 1945, with an Immaculate High School diploma after 61 years.
 
Grinning ear-to-ear, Walsh accepted his honorary diploma during the ceremony inside of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, located at 30 North Fullerton Avenue.