Article Contributed by
Jamestown Public Schools
“I am here to confirm that Robert Lee Treharne has satisfied these requirements and is therefore eligible to receive a Jamestown High School Diploma,” said Jamestown High School Principal Mike McElrath.
These few words have been spoken many times over the years at Jamestown High School but they took on a special significance at a recent ceremony for Robert Lee Treharne, who received his high school diploma at the age of 81 through a NYS Education Department program, “Operation Recognition.”
The program allows certain veterans to earn high school diplomas if they left school without graduating. Section 305 of the NYS Education Law created Operation Recognition to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of WW II, Korea, and Viet Nam veterans who left school before graduating by awarding them a high school diploma. A group of Mr. Treharne’s family and friends, a representative from the Navy, Board of Education representatives, JHS Principal Mr. McElrath and JPS Superintendent Tim Mains, all joined in the celebration. Receiving his diploma visibly moved Mr. Treharne.
“I know my son David said this day would come, to just wait. Well it finally happened and I’m shaking,” said Mr. Treharne. “Everyone in my family has their high school diploma and now I do too. I feel by getting my diploma, it opens the door for other veterans that dropped out of school to enlist in the armed forces the chance to get their diplomas too, which might help them get jobs.”
Mr. Treharne dropped out of Jamestown High School in 1950 during his senior year to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Navy as an E-3 Seaman (SN), Stationed on the US Landing Ship Medium Rocket (LSMR 517).
He spent his service in the Navy patrolling the Great Lakes and the Caribbean Islands during the war. Once he completed his Navy career, Mr. Treharne moved back to Jamestown and met his wife Patricia. They got married and together raised their family of three boys, John, Robert Jr. and David. Patricia earned a GED in 1974. John attended JHS and then joined the U.S. Marine Corp, where he earned GED in 1984. Robert Jr. graduated from JHS Class of 1977, and joined the U.S. Air Force. David graduated from JHS Class of 1979, and attended JCC, then SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music, Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, The Boston Conservatory, Master’s Degree in Music Performance, SUNY Cortland, Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership, and SUNY Oswego, Superintendent Development Program and is the Assistant High School Principal and CSE Chair for the Auburn Enlarged City School District.
Mr. Treharne worked at local companies including: Plumb Tool, Jamestown Motor Bus Company, Crescent Tool, The Post-Journal and the Charles Bus Company as a school bus driver for Jamestown Public Schools where, prior to retirement in 1992, he was the official driver for the JHS football and basketball teams.
“This is an awesome experience for me, and the Board, to present Mr. Treharne with his honorary diploma because as a veteran, he sacrificed and gave his service to his country but still was able to be a successful person,” said JPS Board of Education President Joe DiMaio. “I feel giving Mr. Treharne his high school diploma is the least we can do and it is even more special to me as one veteran to another.”
His family was also moved by the recognition.
“We are extremely grateful and thankful to the Jamestown Public Schools for presenting our father with his high school diploma and providing such a meaningful and dignified Commencement Ceremony,” said his son, David Treharne. “It is important for our family because my dad deserves to be recognized for his contributions to our family and all the people he has impacted throughout his lifetime. He was a Boy Scout Leader, Little League Baseball Coach, Midget Football Coach, Labor Union Representative, and although he never made a lot of money, he always put his family’s needs first. We are so very pleased that the District demonstrated that it cares for the elderly community by taking great care and attention to detail in preparation for this event. Also, by allowing this event to happen, and spreading public awareness for Operation Recognition, this opens the doors for other men and women who left high school to serve in the armed forces and who are eligible to receive their high school diploma. Our dad is the first person to receive his diploma through Operation Recognition, from the Jamestown Public Schools. He is a pioneer and a ground breaker.”
For additional information on Operation Recognition, please contact: The NYS Education Department (518) 474-8940 or go to their website at http://www.acces.nysed.gov/aepp/high_school_diploma_veterans.html.