Santa Barbara County Education Office Seeks Veterans and Internees for a Retroactive High School Diploma Program

Credit: Luis Medina

Between the 1940s and 1970s, thousands of students left high school to serve in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, over 100,000 individuals were interned in relocation camps across the United States. Some of these veterans and internees could not finish high school or receive their diplomas due to their military service or internment. Veterans and previously interned citizens may be granted retroactive high school diplomas by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) through the Operation Recognition program.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Education and SBCEO invite veterans and individuals who meet the eligibility requirements to apply for their high school diplomas and participate in the Operation Recognition graduation ceremony on April 7, 2022.   Individuals may apply posthumously for deceased family members who meet the criteria.

“We are honored to recognize the service and sacrifice of these individuals by presenting them with their diplomas,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido. “In 2019, six distinguished veterans received their high schools diplomas, and we look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022.”

The eligibility criteria, as established by the California Education Code, are:

o    Individuals who served in WWII – December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946; the Korean War – June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955; or the Vietnam War – February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975; and were honorably discharged from their military service.

o    Individuals interned in a relocation camp from September 16, 1940, to December 31, 1946.

o    All recipients must have been enrolled in a high school before enlistment or internment and been unable to receive their diploma due to their enlistment or internment.

Interested individuals may apply through January 14, 2022. Parties needing assistance with the required military service documentation may contact the Santa Barbara County Veterans Service Office at 805-681-4500 or 805-346-7160.

Downloadable flyers and applications are available in English and Spanish on the SBCEO website at or through the links below.

Flyer and Application (English)

Flyer and Application (Spanish)

Completed applications may be emailed to or mailed to the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Attn: Valerie Cantella, P.O. Box 6307, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-6307.

For questions, contact Valerie Cantella, Director of Communications, 805-964-4711, ext. 5282 or


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