- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Helen Isa is about to receive her high school diploma, more than six decades after she was supposed to graduate.

The 82-year-old Japanese-American was sent to an internment camp in 1942 three months before graduation. She spent the rest of World War II in camps surrounded by barbed wire, never attending college or realizing her dream of becoming a nurse.

She finally will don her cap and gown Sunday at a graduation ceremony for dozens of Japanese-Americans whose educations were similarly interrupted. A 2004 state law allows school districts to bestow diplomas on students interned at the nation’s 10 wartime camps.

“I had high hopes of going to college, hopes and dreams that went down the drain,” said Mrs. Isa, a retired secretary. “To receive my high school diploma 63 years later … is to correct the past injustice.”

The ceremony Sunday is being held jointly by Los Angeles schools and other school districts.

The U.S. government interned more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

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