With little pain, Mark Wahlberg has gained a high school diploma. The 42-year-old Pain & Gain actor announced in a Huffington Post op-ed on Monday, Sept. 16 that he is now a high school graduate after dropping out in the ninth grade.
"I never made it past the ninth grade," the Boston native shared. "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."
"Most high school dropouts don't end up with successful careers in Hollywood," he added. "I was lucky. Compared with high school graduates, dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, in poor health, living in poverty or on public assistance."
But earning his high school diploma was always a goal, and the Fighter actor recently decided to 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," he revealed. "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."
Now, Wahlberg -- a father of four with wife Rhea Durham -- is determined to help other teens graduate through his Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation charity, which has partnered with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.
"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," he wrote. "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."