(sorry about the bad quality- there was only so much that I could do, it was just too dark and too far for any really good shots.)
She was required to be at the school at 1pm- an hour before the ceremony, to be fitted for her cap and gown. And parents weren't allowed. (A great pic moment lost.) We waited as patiently as possible- O doing exceptionally well, and C well not so much. (DH spent most of the hour before hand with him in the car, trying to get him to doze off, even if just for a few minutes. Finally he dozed but only with DH's help of rocking him in a giant bear hug. DH was able to sneak back in with a sleeping C, but C awoke crying within the first 15 minutes of the ceremony. And DH and C snuck out of the auditorium to watch from the door.) We took up a whole row of seats.
The Head of the school was supposed to make the opening speech but couldn't make it that day. So it went straight into the kids' chosen staff member's speech- the high school counselor. He spoke about where they all came from and where they were going. Next the student speaker, and her speech it home to me.
(She and I)
R attended an online school, getting away from the traditional brick and mortar, her teachers and classmates spread out across the state. All classes instructed from web cams and live lessons. The students only meeting for an occasional school social event, but mostly making friends by chat. The student speaker touched on how she was asked often "But you never really meet these people?" and "How can they really be your friends?" The biggie "But you don't really socialize?!" She spoke of how just because she doesn't get to hang out or "socialize" in real life with her friends from school that doesn't make them any less of her friends, or that she isn't any less likely to remain friends with them in the future. But that how this experience has helped her grow and taught her how to be more open to socializing with many different people, in many different senses. That they, the students, are enriched by the whole experience. (I know this feeling, have experienced it myself- how online friends can turn into more than just computer buddies, how they can be just as close, and closer, than any friend in real life. You have to put more effort and energy into those relationships but the end result is amazing!)
After her speech, they walked! With less than 100 students graduating (yes it was just because it was That small of a class- and also because the distance many live from the city made it hard for others to attend.) the walk only took 15 minutes. Then they were certified and were truly graduates.
(Cutting cake w/sister A, on dad's side)
The hallway outside was a zoo- so many families, grads and friends, we got a few photos and made our way to my mom's for her party. We expected up to 100 people (she has a lot of friends and support people.) but probably only between 40 and 50 came. It was just enough to make it personal but enough also to show her how special this is and encourage her to keep going. Lots of food was served and lots of photos were taken. She was a star.
I think the lowest point for her came 2 hours before the ceremony, when she received a message via FB from her father telling her he wouldn't be making it (church and work were more of a priority- I am not saying either isn't but as any parent would feel, your child's graduation is, and will always be, first priority.). She handled it well and with truth, not letting it ruin her day. She held her head high and proud.
Just another reason to be proud of her and how far she's come and grown. I love that girl!
The stats were against her.
- "Children of teen parents are 50% more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to graduate from high school than children of older parents 3."
- "Only 77% of children born to teen parents will receive a high school diploma compared to 89% of children born to older parents 4."
But she did it and now goes on to the next chapter- college. A private all girls school- her choice school, where she'll be living on campus and moving towards her next goal, a special education teacher.
(She did it!)