Tulare County Operation Diploma Ceremony

December 7, 2005
      The purpose of the Tulare County Operation Diploma Ceremony program was to award diplomas to veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as citizens interned during World War II in relocation camps, who may have missed their graduation because of their service or internment.  

      Special Events Coordinator, Nancy (Hanada) Bellin (Poston 326-4-A) , introduced the honorees individually and then they were presented with a diploma by Board President Leonard Hansen and County Superintendent Jim Vidak.  Ms. Bellin said that all the applicants spoke of a desire to obtain a high school diploma, which many of us take for granted.  She also thanked Jim Vidak for making this day possible.  

       Nancy Bellin introduced a life-long friend, Dr. Sam Katano (Poston 326-2-A ) , who spoke on behalf of the local Japanese-American community.  He extended congratulations to those being honored at today's ceremony and expressed his appreciation to the County superintendent for establishing the "Operation Diploma" program in Tulare County.  He said that many Japanese-Americans who lived in WW II internment camps never receive their diplomas.

     For Mollie (Abe) Osato (Poston 305-11-B) , this ceremony came nearly 60 years after she attended Orosi High School and left her junior year because she and her family were interned in Arizona.  There was hardly a "dry eye" in the Education Center when Mrs. Osato accepted her high school diplomas with her faithful husband, Masashi Osato (Poston  305-6-CD) , by her side.  Ms. Bellin said that Mollie and her husband, Masashi, own a ranch in Orosi and that she is very active in her local community. 

      Linda Shiba, a technician  in External Business Services, accepted a diploma on behalf of her sister-in-law, Lydia Hatsuki (Nagata) Shiba (Poston 305-11-C) . 

      Diplomas for Mitsunobu George Kiritani (Poston 309-1-A), Mae S. Yamada and Isaac Kelly Kageyama (Poston 305-1-A) were accepted posthumously by Rose (Shiba) Abe (Poston block 309), a good friend of Nancy Bellin.   

     Mrs. Abe remained at the podium to accept diplomas on behalf of Velma Natsuko Kurihara (Poston 305-12-D),  Sumiye Naito, and Yuriko Katsuki who were unable to attend the ceremony.

 Source: Tulare County Board of Education Minutes December 7, 2005, Visalia, CA.
 Accessed at: http://www.tcoe.k12.ca.us/Commitment/Minutes2005_12.pdf

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