Honoring Four Veterans from the Class of ’56

When the Springdale School District celebrated the Class of 2022, they made a special tribute to four individuals who would have graduated back in 1956 if they hadn’t chosen to serve in the military. These extraordinary veterans, Carl Stults, Bobby Burke, Charles Leroy Moon, and Bob Self, affectionately called “super seniors,” were awarded honorary diplomas alongside the graduating seniors of Springdale High School.

Although they were high school seniors in 1956, none of them received a diploma from the school. Carl Self explains, “I took a GED test when I joined the Air Force, but Springdale didn’t recognize the GED at the time. I ended up getting a diploma from Little Rock Central.”

It was only recently that the school district became aware of their missing diplomas. The discovery occurred coincidentally when they all met up for lunch one day.

The inclusion of these super seniors as part of the graduation ceremony was a delightful surprise for the Class of 2022, providing a valuable lesson in honor and sacrifice.

During the ceremony, Springdale Superintendent Jared Cleveland read heartfelt letters from Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Representative Steve Womack, praising the veterans for their selflessness and bravery. Womack wrote, “They served during the time of the Korean conflict and beyond. At that time, they didn’t think about themselves, they didn’t think, ‘What about me?’ They answered the call of duty. Is that not the truest spirit of America?”

The educators also took a moment to highlight each veteran’s exceptional achievements since joining the Air Force in 1956.

While it took 66 years for these four remarkable men to receive their diplomas from their alma mater, the recognition was undoubtedly well-deserved.

“Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog!”


Congratulations to all four veterans on their long-awaited diplomas! And a heartfelt thank you for your dedicated service! It is because of brave individuals like you that we have the privilege of living in the great country we do today. Let’s show our appreciation by sharing this story and congratulating these men on their remarkable accomplishments and sacrifices.