Mark Wahlberg Gets a High School Diploma

The 42-year-old dropped out of school in the ninth grade, but finally got his degree this year, he says, in order to set an example for his kids

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Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg may boast an impressive list of career accomplishments, but until now, he lacked a high school diploma. In a column he penned for the Huffington Post, the 42-year-old announced that he’s now a high school graduate.

“I never made it past the ninth grade,” Walhberg wrote. “My circumstances were not unlike millions of other teens today, who live in tough working class neighborhoods surrounded by drugs, violence and crime, and who struggle to stay on the right path without positive influences.” The Ted star explains that for the past year, he’s been completing online courses, fitting in time to study while traveling and even while on set. He officially received his diploma in June, and said that his four kids were his greatest motivation.

“I didn’t want the kids saying, ‘You didn’t do it, so why do I need it?'” the actor told People. “They are all wanting to do things in their future that require an education.”

In his column, Wahlberg also shared some pertinent statistics:

Every day, 7,000 students drop out of high school – more than 1.2 million a year. More than 40 million adults nationwide lack a high school diploma. These high school dropouts typically earn $200,000 less than high school graduates over their lifetime.

“To those students struggling every day and – most importantly — to those who are looking for a second chance,” the actor wrote at the end of his column, “I have a message for you: never give up. Keep believing in yourselves and don’t make small plans.”

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