Decades after dropping out of Grade 11, 76-year-old Hazen McLean has finally earned his high school diploma.

McLean accepted the long awaited honour at the Nova Scotia Community College in Middleton on Thursday.

After dropping out of school in Grade 11, McLean joined the military as an infantryman. He also worked as a truck driver for a number of years. 

Hazen McLean

McLean, a jokester, says he wants his picture up on the walls with the slogan, 'Don’t pull a Hazen.' (CBC)

"'Because of my own fault, I got kicked out of my house. So I went and got a job and carried on with my life,” he said. 

Graduating wasn’t part of his retirement plans. The soup kitchen where he volunteered was going to close so he decided to take the time to go back and finish school in a class of adult learners.

On Thursday, 60 years after he first dropped out, a beaming McLean also received an award for inspiring his teachers.

Not only did McLean impress by taking 13 classes in one year, those around him say he is an inspiration — as well as a jokester.

He said he wants his picture up on the walls with the slogan, “Don’t pull a Hazen.”

In addition to earning his high school diploma, McLean was able to overcome another challenge — learning to use computers. 

“He was so good. Instead of coming three hours a week, he came five,” said Joan Ross, McLean's computer instructor.