May 25, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

World War II Veterans to Receive High School Diplomas

(Santa Fe, NM)--Under rules approved by the Public Education Department (PED), New Mexico veterans of World War II are eligible for high school diplomas from local school boards, regardless of whether the veteran holds a high school equivalency diploma. Diplomas may be given posthumously.

“New Mexico’s World War II veterans gave so honorably and unselfishly of themselves during a time of tremendous need. It is with great reverence for their service that we make possible this opportunity. It is truly an honor to return to them the educational attainment they lost while on the battlefield. In so doing, we are reminded of the many sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, both today and throughout our history,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García.

House Bill 125 of 2003 authorized the Secretary of Education to establish rules allowing local school boards to issue high school diplomas to qualified World War II veterans. World War II veterans must meet the following qualifications:

· Honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States
· Was scheduled to graduate from high school after 1940 and before 1951
· Was a resident of New Mexico and attended a high school in the locality of the current school district
· Left high school before graduation to serve in World War II.

Under the recently approved rules, completed applications must be returned to the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services for review and determination of eligibility. Once military service eligibility has been determined, the application will be forwarded from the department to the local school district in which the veteran would have received a diploma had he or she remained in school.

The local school district will verify the attendance of the veteran within the district during the period of 1940-1951. Upon verification, the local district/board may issue the veteran a high school diploma. The local district will notify the PED by June 30 of each year of the names and number of veterans receiving diplomas.

Applications are available on the PED’s website at www.ped.state.nm.us or the Veterans’ Services website at www.state.nm.us/veterans. Veterans may contact the PED at 505-827-6525 for more information.