Mark Wahlberg is now a high school graduate.

The proud grad opened up about his experience going back to school in a column on Huffington Post. Titled “Winning My Toughest Role Yet: High School Graduate,” Wahlberg shared that for the past 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.”

He started the column by sharing the unfortunate statistics: “Every day, 7,000 students drop out of high school – more than 1.2 million a year. More than 40 million adults nationwide lack a high school diploma. These high school dropouts typically earn $200,000 less than high school graduates over their lifetime.”

And Wahlberg acknowledges how his uniquely privileged situation now allowed him to pay it forward. “Through my charity, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, I’ve partnered with organizations making a difference, like the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. Their Graduate for Más program empowers teens to make a personal commitment to graduate high school while providing the tools, support and community that high school students need to stay on track – resources I wish I had access to as a teen.”

After running down the details of the program, Wahlberg ends on a message of hope to teens who may be considering dropping out. “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…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…. I am proud to re-introduce myself to you today as: Mark Wahlberg – High School Graduating Class of 2013.”