WWII Vet Receives High School Diploma at Age 89

Houston, Texas: As a senior at Galena Park High School in 1944, Billy Mills was set to graduate and receive his diploma. He had 1.5 credits to make up, but that would not be a problem except for one thing - Uncle Sam called upon him to serve in the U. S. Army. He had no choice but to leave his family, friends and his education. He served our country in World War II as an Army heavy machine gunner and a telegraph operator, but his heart remained in Galena Park. Upon returning home two years later, he married his high school sweetheart, Wanda, and began a career in the oil industry. With a successful career, five children and a loving wife at his side, he lived a fulfilling life; yet, he always had disappointment gnawing at him. He regretted not getting his high school diploma. Fortunately his daughter, Denice, contacted Galena Park ISD to inquire about getting her father a diploma. GPISD was more than happy to oblige this request. On Monday evening, May 11, 2015, 71 years after he was called to serve his country, Billy Mills put on a Galena Park High School cap and gown during the GPISD board meeting. Dr. Williams, superintendent of schools, called him forward and Galena Park High School principal, Tony Gardea, awarded Mr. Mills with his long awaited diploma.


Billy Mills

Pictured: Billy Mills (right), 89-year-old graduate, stands with Wanda, his wife of 69 years (far right), and the principal of Galena Park High School, Tony Gardea (left). Norma Hernandez (far left), the school registrar, was instrumental in assisting Mr. Mills receive his diploma.




Media Contact:

Jonathan Frey | Coordinator for Media and Community Relations | jfrey@galenaparkisd.com | 832.386.1231