War veteran gets his high school diploma
Wanda English Burnett
Antras of Versailles received his high school diploma Saturday,
April 3, 2010. The significance of the diploma is that although
it came 62 years after the fact - he got it.
When Frank was a senior in 1948, instead of fighting for the
top class rank, or a scholarship to attend a school of higher
learning, he was fighting for his country in Korea.
Although he had enough credits to graduate from the Harrison
school he attended, they didnt allow diplomas to be given
then - unless you physically completed your senior year, according
to Franks son, Steve.
Frank marched into territory unfamiliar to fight in five different
battles. He received the Campaign Medal, Cold War Medal, Good
Conduct and Marksmanship Medals, but he still wanted his high
The diploma was awarded at the home of Franks daughter,
Leanna Phillippe, with many close friends and family members
to witness the ceremony. It was complete with a reception and
yes, a graduation cake!
Superintendent Ted Ahaus of South Ripley schools awarded the
diploma saying, At the upcoming graduation ceremony (for
the school) I wont have a student walk across the platform
who is more deserving.
The diploma was presented as a surprise to Frank, with his children
being instrumental in getting the ball rolling. A law has been
passed that directs schools to award high school diplomas to
honorably discharged veterans who did not receive a high school
diploma because they joined the military before graduation.
When his daughter, Leanna, heard about this, she immediately
knew what she was going to do. As an educator herself, she knew
the importance of the diploma to her father.
A short application was filled out with the Indiana Department
of Veterans Affairs. After the application was approved,
information was sent to South Ripley schools to award the diploma
Any veterans serving in World War I, World War II, the Korean
and Vietnam Conflicts, are eligible if they left school to fight
for their country.
Leanna said there was no one more deserving than her father.
She said of her four siblings, all have education beyond high
school, and she credits it to her parents, who were always
Leanna has a Ed.S in School Administration and currently is
the principal of Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. Her siblings
are Bill Antras, who lives in Brinson, Florida, and works as
a Sergeant in the Florida prison system; Steve Antras lives
in Memphis, TN, has an Associates Degree in Computers and has
followed his fathers footsteps and is in the military
- Navy Reserves. Another brother, Mike Antras, lives in Tullahoma,
TN, and has a BA in Business. He is the CEO for a Canadian owned
company. And, finally, brother Tom Antras lives in Spokane,
WA, and has an Associates Degree and works as a lab technician
in a hospital.
Frank lost both parents by the time he was 16-years-old, his
own father, when he was only two. He told how he worked in a
bowling alley from the time he was 11-years-old, seven days
a week, setting up pins. Hes never been afraid of hard
work. He knows the value of a dollar and the value of a diploma
always encouraging his own children to reach for higher education.
Frank and wife Vickie have been married for nearly 57 years
and say they have enjoyed life. They are quick to give back
to not only their family, but to the community in which they
live. They both attend the Versailles Baptist Church where Frank
is a Deacon and teaches Sunday school. Together they serve in
a jail ministry at the Ripley County Jail. They also have a
shut-in ministry where they visit people who are not able to
attend church services. They are also Gideons and are active
with promoting the gospel through distribution of the Bible.
Humbly, Frank thanked those gathered at the occasion over the
weekend and said everything he has achieved in his life has
come from God. God is good, he said with tear filled
eyes. He said in life, its only what you do for
God that counts.
Frank was fortunate enough to come home from the war and to
be employed with the Jefferson Proving Ground. He lived a simple
life, giving to others, and says hes already been rewarded
here on earth by the many friends he and his wife have made.
While Frank feels blessed to have had a good job at the Jefferson
Proving Ground, he knows today he couldnt have
held such a job without a high school diploma.
Pictured above South
Ripley Superintendent Ted Ahaus, left, presents Frank
Antras, right, with his high school diploma that he should
have received in 1948. Instead he left school his senior
year to fight in the Korean War and is pictured in his
US Army uniform at right.