TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Wayne Cook got married when he was 16, and quickly went to work. He never graduated from high school.
Now, at age 59, he's fixed that problem.
"In 2009, I lost my job due to the economy," Wayne said. "And I decided it was time for me to do it."
Wayne enrolled in The Literacy Council of Tyler's GED program, and completed his walk across the stage, 40 years in the making.
But the graduate behind him in line is pretty special too. Wayne's son Mark also took that work.
"I just lacked half a credit because of a class that I had to go to, and I had problems," Mark said. "I was hard-headed, and that's my fault."
Mark is a father of four, and says education has been a sensitive subject at home.
"It's hard to preach to them, when I don't have one," Mark said.
But that's not the case anymore. And it's even more special, because this is the first time a father and son have graduated together at this ceremony.
"He's doing something he should have done years ago, and I'm doing something I should have done years ago, and we're both proud of one another," Wayne said.
And Mark says he's not done. He'll continue his education, and knows exactly what he'd say to anyone considering making the mistake he made decades ago.
"Don't quit. Get your diploma while you're there," Mark said. "If you don't regret it, I don't understand you."
Around 400 people graduate from The Literacy Council's GED program every year, but not all of them choose to attend graduation.