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Korean War veteran Paul Mackey was awarded a Texas High School diploma on Tuesday after being previously unable to receive one because of being called to service.

In 1953, Mackey entered active duty with the Marine Corps during his junior year at Texas High School.

"I felt that America needed my help in Korea more than they needed me to finish high school," Mackey said.

The 84-year-old Mackey said he understands the importance of education and he encourages students to stay in school.

"Finish your education and do not drop out of high school, regardless of the situation. In this day and age, everyone needs to further their education with college and/or vocational training," he said.

The diploma was awarded by Texarkana Independent School District officials at the opening of a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Mackey was to have received his high school degree in 1954 but was called upon by his country to serve.

"Many American students gave up their educational dreams when they left high school to enlist and serve their country during a time of war," Chief Communications Officer Tina Veal-Gooch said in a press release.

"Texas Education Code 28.0251 allows school districts to issue a high school diploma to honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces of the United States who served in World War II, Korea or Vietnam and were scheduled to graduate from high school between 1940 and 1975. They must complete the required documents provided by the TEA and then submit to the local school district where the veteran was enrolled in high school."

Other items addressed in the meeting included the approval of an Asynchronous Remote Instruction Plan. TISD has selected the Asynchronous Remote Instruction Model for at-home learners for 2020-21.

This plan will provide remote students the ability to complete assignments on their own time for the most part, as opposed to an entirely live learning experience that a synchronous plan would entail.

This has previously been offered, but the plan was required to be submitted to the Texas Education Agency for approval.

A public hearing for discussion of the 2020 Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Accelerated Instruction Programs for High School Students was also held.

A new code added to House Bill 5 requires each school district to provide accelerated instruction in the applicable subject area each time a student fails an end-of-course assessment instrument.

The last topic addressed was the Smart Restart Learning Change Opportunity.

Parents/guardians have the opportunity to change their student's learning instruction for the 2nd six weeks (Sept. 28 to Nov. 6) to traditional on-campus learning.

In order for the learning option to be changed, a parent/guardian must complete a Traditional On-Campus Learning Change Form.

Per TEA guidelines, parents/guardians must commit to traditional on-campus learning if their student(s) has been listed as an at-home remote learner during the previous six weeks. One form must be completed for each student.

The Traditional On-Campus Learning Change Form can be completed online at or a paper copy can be completed and turned in to the student's campus by Friday.

Parents/guardians who have questions are encouraged to contact their student's home campus office.

The next meeting for the TISD Board of Trustees will be Oct. 20.

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