Juneau Presents Honorary Diploma To 92-Year-Old WWII Veteran

121815_Juneau and Patacinis SMALLEarlier this month, Whitehall veteran Henry “Hank” Buster Patacini, 92, received something he never expected to see, a high school diploma.

Patacini dropped out of high school in 1939 to work on his family’s dairy farm. A few years later he was drafted and shipped off to fight in WWII.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau was invited to Patacini’s surprise graduation party, where she handed him an honorary high school diploma. It was the 29th such diploma Juneau has signed since becoming superintendent in 2009.

They gathered at Borden’s Hotel in Whitehall as part of OPI’s Honorary High School Diplomas program for Montana vets.

“It went great,” said Gail Banks, Patacini’s daughter. “He said, ‘But I didn’t earn that.’ And Denise Juneau said, ‘Henry, you did it by the service to your country and your community.’”

Patacini is one of nearly 400 Montanans who have received an honorary diploma from OPI since 2003, when the program was created. – Montana Standard

“Providing honorary diplomas for the men and women who served our country is the least we can do to recognize the sacrifice each of them have made,” Juneau said.

Read the Montana Standard’s story, here.