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East Texan receives diploma 50 years after his graduation

By Lee Ellen Benjamin lbenjamin@news-journal.com
Jan. 14, 2012 at 11 p.m.


ATLANTA - An East Texan who came up a half-credit short of graduating has received his diploma almost 50 years after he left his West Texas high school.

Omer Edward Bowman of Atlanta was supposed to graduate from Buena Vista High School in 1962, but he lacked one-half credit of algebra.

School officials allowed him to walk across the stage with his classmates even though he had not completed all of the work.

Bowman said he carried the regret of failing to graduate for most of his life, though he later completed the work while serving in the U.S. Army.

In December, Buena Vista ISD Superintendent Guy Birdwell presented Bowman with a diploma from his alma mater.

Though it was almost 50 years delayed, Bowman said he is a proud Buena Vista High School graduate.

The 1-A school district in Pecos County encompasses 3,000 square miles and has 105 students.

Bowman entered the Army in 1967 and served in the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery until 1970. He was wounded in 1968 while fighting in Vietnam, and was awarded a Purple Heart.

He also was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a Silver Star.

Bowman and his wife, Dorothy, have been married 47 years this month. They have four children; 15 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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