Luke Walsh will be awarded a high school diploma on Thursday night — 71 years late.

Walsh left Montclair Immaculate Conception High School as a sophomore to join the Navy and fight in World War II with his five brothers.

When he returned, he was denied the opportunity to continue his high school education and told by the administration he was "too old," school officials said this week.

Immaculate President Celia Triggs Honohan said it was disappointing because he was friends with many members of the Class of 1945. Montclair public schools also turned down his request to return to high school, according to Honohan. Walsh did eventually get a degree elsewhere, but Honohan said she didn't know where.

Honohan said the school became aware of Walsh's story during fundraising efforts to keep the school open in 2014 when he attended a golf outing.

"We decided that he should graduate again and get an Immaculate diploma," Honohann said.

Honohan said Walsh will share his story of being a young soldier serving with his brothers.

"He was on the accompanying ship to the USS Missouri when the surrender treaty with Japan was signed," Honohan said.

Walsh's family will be in attendance to watch him graduate with the Immaculate class of 2016. Honohan said that an Immaculate senior who will be going on active military duty before attending college at Texas A+M will present Walsh with his diploma.

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