NILES BOARD OF EDUCATION Veteran grads accept diplomas

A Howland man was wounded and earned four major battle stars.
NILES -- When World War II veteran Silvio F. Ficeti learned he could get his high school diploma, he jumped at the chance.
"I think it's a real honor," said Ficeti, 78, of Howland. "I'm really happy about it."
Ficeti was one of five WW II veterans to receive high school diplomas from the Niles Board of Education during a ceremony Thursday evening at Edison Junior High School.
The veterans left school to serve their country between 1940 and 1946.
Others graduating: Randall L. Hake of Niles and Anthony Petrilla of Mineral Ridge, both Navy veterans, and Raymond R. Rosenberger of Warren and William W. Sober of Niles, both Army veterans, also received their diplomas.
Ficeti served with the Army in Europe from 1943 to 1945, leaving high school when he was drafted.
He was wounded in France and earned four major battle stars during his service.
"When I came home, I didn't really pursue it," he said of the diploma. "I worked for General Motors/Packard Electric, and at that time they were booming," Ficeti said. "I was making pretty good money, and I didn't get my GED."
Very enthusiastic: When he learned he had the opportunity to receive his high school diploma, he "jumped at the chance."
The Niles McKinley Jazz band performed during the brief ceremony, and each new graduate who attended had an opportunity to speak.
"They treated us like gold," Ficeti said.
The ceremony included some emotional moments for the new graduates, he said.
"I think my granddaughter [Angela] cried the whole way through," Ficeti said, adding that many of his family members attended.

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