When Warren Kreway first left high school as a teenager, he had not graduated. This year at 65, he returned to finish the job.
For Kreway, finishing his high school education is a dream come true and one that he hopes will inspire others, both young people and those in his own peer group.
“I want to help them set their goals a little higher,” said Kreway. “I want them to know that it’s never too late.”
For youth, Kreway sees his graduation as an encouragement for young people to always push themselves and pursue their goals. He added he knows of a few people in his own peer group who are in the same situation he was and hopes his graduation serves as an example to them as well.
Kreway was born in Calgary.
While he was in high school, his parents moved to the small town of Rosemary, Alberta.
At that time, he was presented with two choices. He could join the navy, who were recruiting him as he was a member of the sea cadets, or he could move to Rosemary with his parents.
To support his parents, who were going through a difficult time, Kreway decided to move to Rosemary with them. However, he said he did not enjoy living in the small town.
Kreway finished high school education in Rosemary, but was a few credits short of graduating.
Instead of going back to school, he moved back to Calgary and got a job.
Through his work, Kreway was able to enroll in some classes at Mount Royal College (now Mount Royal University) but because of the arrangement with his business, no one ever bothered asking him if he had a high school diploma, and Kreway had no desire to tell them.
“I was embarrassed, I was totally embarrassed,” said Kreway. He added that he had felt that, if people knew he hadn’t successfully completed high school, people would think less of him.
Not graduating was a closely guarded secret for Kreway. He told no one, not even his own children, about it until very recently.
In 1974, he moved to Lacombe and has been part of the community ever since. A few years ago, Kreway was approached by Steven Schultz, one of the teachers at Lacombe Composite High School, to help coach the LCHS Robotics club.
Schultz knew that Kreway was an advocate for promoting youth through his work in the Kinsmen and as a bus driver.
Schultz also knew about his background in mechanics and thought it would be helpful in the robotics club.
It didn’t take long for Kreway and the members of the robotics club to bond. Through that friendship, Kreway shared with them the secret he had kept hidden all his life.
One night when the robotics club was away for a competition and the group were sharing life stories in the hotel room, Kreway told the club how he had never graduated from high school.
He also told them how he felt awkward being in a high school trying to teach students things about robotics when he didn’t have a high school diploma himself.
It wasn’t long before the robotics club members began to challenge Kreway to finish his education. When Kreway started talking to the staff at LCHS about what it would take for him to go back and graduate, he was told that he would likely qualify for the necessary credits because of his age and life skills and could just challenge the exams.
He wanted to go back to school, sit in the classes and have the full experience of going to school. In the end, that is exactly what he did.
Kreway said his first few days back at school were a bit awkward. He said that when he first told the robotics club he was going back to school, they thought he was joking.
“It took a few days for everyone to get used to me being in the classes,” said Kreway. He added that after awhile, it became apparent to those who thought he was playing a prank that he meant business.
Last week, Kreway received his marks from his diploma exams in the mail. In June of this year, he will participate with his fellow Grade 12 students in the graduation ceremony at LCHS.