Mark Wahlberg earns high school diploma 25 years later

BOSTON (AP) -- Mark Wahlberg is now a high school graduate - 25 years after dropping out of a Boston high school.

The 42-year-old actor-producer finished his diploma requirements after taking classes online. He dropped out of Copley Square High School, now known as Snowden International School at Copley, in the ninth grade.

Wahlberg wrote of the struggles he faced growing up surrounded by "drugs, violence and crime" in a column in The Huffington Post on Monday. He says he's been taking classes and studying while on movie sets, traveling and at home.

In June 2012, Wahlberg announced he was going back to school with the help of Snowden headmaster Kerry Torndorf, who enrolled Wahlberg in his school's Accelerated Learning Academy.

Cara Livermore, the current headmaster, said it took Wahlberg about a year to finish all of his courses online. She said his graduation requirements were based on the number of credits he would have had to earn in the late 1980s, which have increased for current students. His classes included algebra and trigonometry.

"He worked hard," she said.

In April, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, which happened nearby, he visited the school and asked to talk with students privately for a few minutes. Livermore said he really wanted to make a connection and talked to them about valuing the opportunities they have.

The school says its students are about 55 percent female, 45 percent male. It has a minority enrollment of about 91 percent, with about 80 percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

"It shows that he cares where he comes from, that he took the time to come back and visit the school," she said.

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