“It’s really terrific:” WWII veteran’s photo added to the class photo of 1944 — 72 years later

Walter Kostrezwski

BUFFALO, New York — A high school class photo from 1944 has always been missing one graduate’s photo — until now. The school is honoring the student who had to leave school to fight in World War II.

A hallway at Canisius High School is lined with the faces of graduates — but one has been missing.

“His absence in this hall has lasted over 72 years,” Rev. David Ciancimino, president of the school said.

Walter Kostrezwski graduated 72 years ago, but never got to walk the stage with his classmates. He was drafted to fight in World War II — and the war was a tougher subject to tackle than all of his classes.

“I did check your transcript to make sure you completed those credits,” Rev. Ciancimino said.

Decades later, he’s finally joined his graduating class.

“Today we welcome him back in person and welcome his presence on the class photo of 1944,” Rev. Ciancimino said.

The way he got to school for the ceremony was a little different than it was back in the day!

“We used to take the Sycamore streetcar. Took us an hour to get there,” Kostrezwski said.

Kostrezwski said the honor means so much to him and his family.

“It’s really terrific. It’s been three generations of our family who’ve had graduates here with Uncle Wally being the first. It’s great to be able to have his place in alumni history here,” David Kostrzewski, Walter’s nephew said.