WITH WIFE AND DAUGHTER AT HIS SIDE, 68-YEAR-OLD MAN RETURNS TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COMES AWAY WITH A DEGREE THOSE WITH INFORMATION FOR THIS COLUMN ARE INV
WITH WIFE AND DAUGHTER AT HIS SIDE, 68-YEAR-OLD MAN RETURNS TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COMES AWAY WITH A DEGREE THOSE WITH INFORMATION FOR THIS COLUMN ARE INVITED TO CALL ANGELYN N. HUTCHINSON OR CHUCK GATES AT THE DESERET NEWS, 237-2100. Ralph Milner didn't tell his children he didn't have his high school diploma.
"I think he wanted to set a standard of expectation for us," said Joanne Milner, his daughter. She knew her father didn't have his diploma, but she can't recall him looking in her eyes and telling her that - until a few months ago.Fifty years after his classmates graduated, Ralph Milner returned to school to obtain the last few credits he needed for his own diploma.
The effort was a family affair. He enrolled in Horizonte, the alternative Salt Lake high school where his daughter works as an administrator. His wife, Giovanni, went to Horizonte with him every day, sitting at his side as each unraveled the high-tech mystery of the personal com-put-er.
"He's had two cataract surgeries and also he has hearing aids. So I can help if he doesn't hear or see things right," Giovanni Milner explained.
Even the graduation had a family touch. Ralph Milner received his diploma Tuesday at a joint meeting of the Salt Lake City Council and school board. Joanne Milner is a member of the council and arranged for the early diploma because she would be out of town for the Horizonte graduation ceremonies.
The diploma was perhaps sweeter for the wait. "I'm thrilled. I'm really delighted about this," Ralph Milner said. His father died when Ralph Milner was 11, forcing him to work early to help support his family. "I had to get out and hit it, make my own living."
While attending junior high and high school, he worked as a fountain boy at a drugstore, a mail clerk in a woman's department store and a truck driver, cutting classes to get to work on time.
Now, at the age of 68, he has his diploma.
While Ralph Milner worked on the railroad and then at Hercules, he and his wife reared six children. "They all got education. They all went to the university. All but me. I trailed along without the high school di-plo-ma."
Joanne Milner said her father's graduation was one of her proudest moments. Having her father enrolled in her school was awkward at first, she said. The roles of parent and child were reversed. "I was checking on the performance of my parent. It made me realize no matter what age you are, life is a continuous learning process. You still experience some things for the first time."