57-Year-Old's Prom Night Better Late Than Never

ByABC News via logo

May 28, 2005 — -- Roderick Forrester turned up fashionably late to his high school prom Friday.

The 57-year-old was about 40 years late, but for Forrester, his belated prom night proved that sometimes you can go back in time.

"It was a dream that I thought would always just remain a dream," Forrester told "Good Morning America" today.

Forrester dropped out of Weymouth High School in Massachusetts in 1965 and joined the Navy soon after, serving in Vietnam. In the ensuing years, he also got married, had kids, got divorced, remarried and retired from the U.S. Postal Service.

It was a full life, and though he received his General Equivalency Degree, he always regretted not getting that high-school diploma.

After reading about a 72-year-old high-school dropout who went back to Weymouth High School to get his diploma, Forrester decided to take action. He enrolled in the evening program and received his diploma last week, graduating with high honors.

To top things off, the high school decided that for the first time in 27 years, the evening students would be allowed to attend the prom with the other students.

Forrester was elated when he heard the news.

"They just told us out of the blue that they were going to allow us to go to the prom, and I was jumping up and down and dancing like a giddy teenager," he said.

To celebrate, Forrester asked his wife, Jane, to be his date. She happily accepted.

The couple did it up in high style. Forrester wore a white tux, and Jane bought a new gown and diamond earrings for the event.

"He just handed me the credit card, which I thought was wonderful," she said.

"She blistered it!" Forrester added happily.

Forrester gave his wife a wrist corsage and the couple rented a stretch limo. Once at the prom, they danced all night.

"It was really something," Forrester said. "I got up there with the young kids. This never happened when I was young. I was surrounded by a dozen beautiful young girls and my wife wouldn't keep her eye off me. It was unbelievable. They were showing me all the new steps."

Jane said the younger graduates were extremely welcoming and supportive.

"I'm very proud of him," she said. "And I'm equally as proud of the graduating class of 2005, because these kids were absolutely wonderful to us. I just couldn't say enough about them."

For Forrester, it was a very different experience than his first time around. Though he didn't go into the reasons he dropped out of high school, he told The Boston Globe, "I don't remember having a very pleasant time in school."

Forrester hopes that his story will serve as a lesson to others that it's never too late to correct past mistakes and try to fulfill your dreams.

"I hope that there might be a young person that will look at what I've done and hopefully seek out some help … and stay in school," he said.

Forrester is now considering going on to college.

"There's no reason I can't," he said. "I can't work anymore, but I certainly can keep learning."

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