After years off, these incredible adults return to school and earned their diplomas

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A special group of Wake Tech graduates celebrated a huge accomplishment while still respecting COVID-19 limitations.

"I'm just filled with so much emotion. I'm going for try not to cry; I've been waiting for this for 25 years," new graduate Tounes Ouleahiari said.

Ouleahiari is part of a group of students who for various reasons were unable to finish high school as planned. But now, as adults, they've gone back and earned their diplomas.

"They work, they do multiple things in our community, but they come back and finished high school," Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls said.

Their impressive accomplishments are being celebrated a different way this year because of the pandemic. They pulled up, walked across the stage while their families cheered from the car.

WATCH: 84-year-old Marine gets high school diploma 66 years after joining military to serve in Korea
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Paul Mackey served in the Marine Corps and was one of the last Korean War veterans to retire from the Army Reserves. Now, he's a high school graduate 66 years later.

"I was ready. I just was waiting on my baby. I'm happy. I'm proud of her," one graduate's mother said.

Taking a moment to celebrate but already looking forward to the future.

"I'm either going to college for agriculture or physical therapy. I'm trying to decide which one, but I'm going to be right back in school," graduate Aliyah Timlet said.

In total, about 65 graduates decided to participate in the drive-thru graduation and each of them brought a car full of supporters.
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