New High School Grad: Mark Wahlberg, 42 Took him almost a year, but he got his diploma By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Sep 17, 2013 10:33 AM CDT 14 comments Comments Actor Mark Wahlberg attends the premiere of "Two Guns" on Monday, July 29, 2013, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP) (Newser) – At 42, Mark Wahlberg is a new high school graduate, the actor revealed yesterday. He originally dropped out in the ninth grade, Wahlberg writes in the Huffington Post. "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." But he "was lucky," and ended up successful. He finally got his diploma this summer after taking classes online for almost a year. "It has been both humbling and challenging," he writes, and he wants to raise awareness of the problems faced by high school dropouts in the US. "It shouldn't take luck for people to be able to access the education they need to help overcome life's obstacles," and that's why his charity is working to help teens graduate by providing them with resources and support. On a more personal note, Wahlberg tells People his four kids motivated him to go back to school. "I didn't want the kids saying, 'You didn't do it, so why do I need it?'" he explains.