One Watkins Memorial High School student graduated a few months later than the rest of his class - and with a half credit less.

One Watkins Memorial High School student graduated a few months later than the rest of his class - and with a half credit less.

The Southwest Licking Board of Education voted 5-0 on Dec. 16 to allow Nicholas Summers of Kirkersville to graduate, despite being a half a credit shy of the graduation requirements.

Watkins principal Ben Richards said the half credit that Summers was missing an elective credit and that it was not his fault.

"This student was told all last year that all he had to do to graduate was pass the (Ohio Graduation Test)," Richards said.

Superintendent Forest Yocum said the mistake was made sometime earlier in high school.

"It was no fault of the student's. He successfully completed all seven subjects that he was involved in and passed every one of those seven. You can't take a fuller load than that," Yocum said.

Summers, 19, told ThisWeek he would have remedied the situation had he been aware that he was short on credits.

"I would have went to summer school if I had known," said Summers, who was alerted about 36 hours before the board meeting that he couldn't get his diploma without board approval.

Summers didn't pass the OGT in time for graduation with the rest of his class of 2010, but he kept studying and took the test again over the summer.

"Honestly, it's unusual for students to have the perseverance to continue working," Richards said. "Very often, students in that same situation would go, 'I'm just done with it.'"

The error wasn't realized until after Summers learned that he had passed the OGT.

"As we were in the process of examining everything, it was discovered that he was half a credit short," Yocum said.

Richards said Watkins staff members are examining the process to discover where the error was made and to ensure that the error isn't repeated.

Richards recommended that the board waive the district's regular graduation requirements and approve Summers' graduation.

"He has met all the Ohio graduation requirements. Very frankly, this mistake is on us," he said. "Honestly, if we had pointed that out last year, we would have had some other options, but at this point in time, we have no other options."

The board approved Summers' graduation with the caveat that its action should not be used as a precedent to allow future students to graduate without meeting the requirements.

Summers' family was pleased with the outcome.

"If the board meeting didn't go the way we wanted it to, we would have taken it further, but it went the way we wanted it to," he said.

Board members congratulated Summers on his perseverance.

"I appreciate that you would work so hard to pass your OGTs after already graduating," board member Cindy Zaino said.

Summers is looking for a job in law or criminology, he said.

"Now that I have my diploma, I'm going to work," he said. "I couldn't get a decent job without a diploma."