NJ High School Awards Diploma To WWII Vet Who Dropped Out 75 Years Ago
On the last report card that Vito Trause ever received, there is a notation explaining his withdrawal from high school. It says "Army."
That report card was issued 75 years ago, on November 30, 1943. Vito had decided to leave high school during his junior year to enlist to fight in World War II.
"I did a lot of sports in high school," Vito recalled. "In the last game, I played against Lyndhurst, I scored a touchdown. I played on the Saturday, by Thursday, I was in the service," he said of the rapid turnaround between his decision to join the Army and the reality of being a soldier.
Now, 73 years after he would have graduated from East Rutherford High School (now called Becton Regional High School) in New Jersey, Vito has been awarded an honorary diploma and celebrated with a ceremony featuring the school's 2018 graduating class, some active-duty service members, and Vito's family.
At the graduation ceremony, Becton Regional Principal Dario Sforza spoke with reverence and perspective, about Vito's bravery and sacrifice.
"What would have been [Vito's] senior year wasn't so pleasant," Dario said. "Instead of English class, he was captured and held as prison of war under horrible and horrific conditions. He was eventually liberated, returned to Carlstadt, married Terry from East Rutherford, and had two beautiful children."
At the end of his remarks, Dario welcomed Vito into "the official class of 1945." Vito's two daughters,Tory and Sydney, presented him with his diploma.