Dad was 14 when he completed elementary school and received his diploma in May of 1942. I am surprised that when he graduated from elementary school he could go to any high school in the state.
I don’t know if this was a result of training, or just experience, but Dad became a boilerman and got a certificate to prove it.
(Seal of the United States Department of the Navy)
To all who shall see these presents, greeting:
Know Ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the fidelity and abilities of
Elvin Manuel Patrick, I do appoint him Boilerman Third Class in the
United States Navy
to rank as such from the sixteenth day of October nineteen hundred and fifty one.
This appointee will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the grade to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto pertaining. And I do strictly charge and require all personnel of lesser grade to render obedience to appropriate orders. And this appointee is to observe and follow such orders and directions as may be given from time to time by superiors acting according to the rules and articles governing the discipline of the
Armed Forces of the United States of America
Given under my hand at USS Roanoke CL 145, this sixteenth, day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and Fifty One.
/sig/ J. W. Florence, Commander, USN, Executive Officer
Even though Dad quit school at 16 or so, he still kept on learning. For one, he completed a Navy Training Course to become a fireman. This was news to me.
Navy Training Course Certificate
Bureau of Naval Personnel & Navy Department
United States of America
(silhouette of Naval ship)
PATRICK, Elvin M., FA, 302 80 08, USN.
Having completed the Navy Training Course
for Fireman with a mark of 3.55 and all required practical factors for Petty Officer —- Class and for the rating of Fireman in accordance with Manual of Qualifications for Advancement in Rating (NavPersl8068) Code 610.011 is awarded this First day of January, 1950.
Notification to this effect has been made in his service record.
/sig/W. H. Sample, ENS., U.S. Navy “B” Division officer
/sig/ E. E. Yeomans, Captain, U. S. Navy. Commanding U.S.S Roanoke (CL-145)
Here’s a certificate from the primary course — about 6 months before the one at the top.
I met Sue in 1974 when we were scheduled to host British high school students for a month, then go to England to be the guests of our hosts. We hit it off right away and are still friends, although we have not seen each other in 15 years. 
Back before email I wrote a lot of letters and received as many in return. Sue was one of the most prolific writers of letters and I still have a few of them, mostly from her days at the University of Illinois. She went away to school, but I didn’t so I loved reading about her experiences. She wrote about studying for exams:
“…so this weekend will be very busy, besides beginning to study for my comprehensive exam in zoology on Tuesday.”
“Last night was the Beach Boys’ concert. I had the most wonderful time. I even danced! There were more than 8000 people there… I really wish everyone I know could have been there to enjoy that concert! We were in the 18th row in the front and middle! We could see them perfectly! I just love the drummer (Dennis Wilson) there. What I would give for a guy with his looks, his talents (his money!!).”
“My Mister Right has not yet come along. However I am dating a really good looking guy named Tom. We’ve been going out for a couple of weeks. In fact last night we went for a 2 hour walk, tonight we’re going to a movie, and tomorrow we’re going to see Dimitri, a famous pantomimist and clown in the auditorium. He’s (Tom) a year younger than me, and he’s been going out with a girl for 3 years (marriage is more or less understood). She goes to Bradley and they both go out with other people to be certain they want each other.”
I’ve written Sue a late Christmas letter and am going to enclose the letters she sent me so many years ago. I figure she will get more out of them now than I would — and I didn’t want to throw them away after keeping them for over 40 years.
Declutter 2018 count:
8 9  letters from Sue.