(Posted Feb. 17, 2017)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Basil N. Kincaid is West Jefferson High School’s first graduate of 2017—and it only took him 66 years to receive his diploma.
During a brief ceremony at the Feb. 13 Jefferson Local Schools board of education meeting, Principal David Metz presented the Korean War veteran with a diploma five decades after he left high school.
“Mr. Kincaid attended Sherman High School in Seth, West Virginia, and left high school to enlist in the Navy on March 27, 1951,” said Metz. “He was honorably discharged on March 21, 1955.”
Turning to Kincaid, Metz said, “Basil, you are our first 2017 graduate.”
State law allows school boards to grant a diploma to a World War II, Korean Conflict or Vietnam Conflict veteran if all of the following apply:
- The veteran either left a public or nonpublic high school located in any state prior to graduation in order to serve in the armed forces of the United States or due to family circumstances and subsequently entered the Armed Forces of the United States;
- The veteran received an honorable discharge from the armed forces of the United States; and
- The veteran has not been granted a diploma, honors dip-loma, a diploma of adult educa-tion or a diploma from another school.
The veteran is not required to take the GED or any graduation test in order to qualify for a diploma.
The Governor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs has developed and adopted an application form for use by all county veterans service offices. Upon verification that all requirements have been met, the application is forwarded to the school board and the diploma may be awarded.
According to Metz, the statutes allow a veteran to receive a diploma in the district where he or she currently resides. The Madison County Veterans Services contacted Metz in December when Kincaid, a West Jefferson resident, applied for a diploma.
“I think it is a great thing to be able to honor someone, even belatedly so, who served their country,” said Superintendent William Mullet. “We appreciate his service. It is a real honor to be able to do this for Basil.”
Kincaid served on the USS Latimer, which was based out of Norfolk, Va., and traveled several times to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He was also part of a mission taking 1,200 Army engineers to Greenland to construct a “powerful tower.”
“We had to go in behind an ice breaker in order to get to Greenland,” said Kincaid, who told Metz and the school board he “really appreciated” receiving his diploma.
For more information about obtaining a veterans diploma, call Jennifer Moore, director of Madison County Veterans Services, at (740) 852-0676. The office is located in the lower level of the Madison County Courthouse in London. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.