Mark Wahlberg Graduates High School, Offers Life Advice

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Mark Wahlberg is feeling some good vibrations this week.

The actor, 42, dropped out of high school in ninth grade, but the Oscar nominee wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed yesterday that he went back, worked hard... and has earned his diploma!

"My circumstances were not unlike millions of other teens today, who live in tough working class neighborhoods surrounded by drugs, violence and crime, and who struggle to stay on the right path without positive influences," Wahlberg wrote, adding that he's been "lucky" to have a career that enabled him to graduate after all these years.

The actor listed important numbers (over 1.2 million teens drop out of high school every year, earning $200,000 less over the course of their lifetimes than those who do graduate) and wrote:

"For me, this crisis isn't just a national problem. It's entirely personal.

"I was fortunate to find out I could attend high school online. For almost a year, I've been taking classes and studying any chance I could get - on the set, traveling for work and at home. It has been both humbling and challenging, but I'm happy to report that I am officially a high school graduate, having received my diploma this summer.

"It shouldn't take luck for people to be able to access the education they need to help overcome life's obstacles. Investment in education is a no-brainer in promoting personal and career growth and supporting our economic recovery."

Wahlberg, who stands by Justin Bieber, concluded with some advice for others in his former situation:

"To those students struggling every day and - most importantly -- to those who are looking for a second chance, I have a message for you: never give up. Keep believing in yourselves and don't make small plans.

"You are not alone. I can now look at my kids every day knowing that I didn't just do this for me - I did it for them, and I did it for all the other teens and adults who have inspired me by their commitment to graduate."

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