Never mind that Gary Weaver has bachelor's degrees in psychology and sociology.
Or a master's degree in school psychology and a teaching certificate. Or that on Thursday he'll receive a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Brigham Young University.What really matters to his mother is the high school diploma he'll receive from Landmark High School in Spanish Fork on May 29.
Weaver, 40, grew up in Provo but spent his first two years of high school in Oklahoma where his father, Ross, was on sabbatical from BYU. In his junior year, Weaver scored in the top 8 percent of the nation on the ACT college entrance exam.
When the family returned to Provo in 1968, Weaver opted to skip his senior year and enroll at BYU. He never graduated from high school because he was short several physical education and health credits.
Marva Weaver, Gary's mother, hung a picture of Weaver taken in college next to the high school graduation photos of his three sisters and brother. But Marva decided that because Gary wasn't really a high school graduate he didn't deserve the same treatment as his siblings.
And so as a joke, she turned Gary's photo upside down. It has remained that way for more than 20 years. Not even the doctorate Gary finished in December could convince Marva to right the photo.
"He said, `You mean I've got my doctorate and I still have to hang upside down?' " Marva said of her son. "I said: `Yes. You haven't graduated from high school.' "
Weaver is a school psychologist for Landmark and Spanish Fork high schools. He'll be one of the speakers at the commencement program for Landmark, the Nebo School District's alternative high school.
"I was going to throw my hat in for valedictorian because I figure I've got the best GPA over there at the high school, but they said that would be unfair competition," Weaver said.
So why graduate after all these years - other than getting his picture righted? Weaver and his wife, Wendy, who also skipped her senior year of high school, decided he had to graduate from high school for Freudian reasons.
"If you don't successfully complete one of your rites of passage, you get fixated in that stage," Weaver said.
Actually, it goes deeper than that. Being able to say he graduated from Landmark High School may quiet naysayers who think nothing good comes out of alternative high schools, Weaver said.
"When I go to heaven, I want to say I graduated with these guys," he said.
The graduation board at Landmark decided Weaver's 341 semester credits at BYU were adequate and waived the lacking P.E. credits.
Along with Weaver, three foster boys living with his family also will graduate from high school in May.