So, as I promised, I thought I would share my thoughts on graduation…. A Monday morning quarterbacking, if you will….
The day after graduation, I dragged my butt into yoga – I felt incredibly tight. I realized that the previous week, I’ve been clenched in anticipation and dread, and my body was feeling the effects. I was still dangerously close to crying if anyone asked me anything about Henry… God – what’s wrong with me?! This is a happy time! Not only has my son worked his butt off, but its the culmination of a hell of a lot of hard work and anguish on my part (not that he’ll ever know this…)
The room was about 150 degrees Fahrenheit… Do schools do this on purpose? I think churches do it too for weddings…. There were 10 graduates, all marching in with huge smiles on their faces. The evening began with awards (not just to graduates), which are voted on by their peers. The awards are based on the 6 core values of The YMCA Academy – I won’t bore you with all of them, but Henry won the Responsibility award. In his entire high school career, not one assignment was handed in late – I think he only missed 5 days of school in 4 years! His favourite teacher “Z”, gave a very funny presentation of Henry.
I have to give a huge shout out to the extremely enthusiastic and energetic teachers that were all there for the big night. Three of Henry’s teachers, who have enjoyed his wacky sense of humour over the years, actually looked depressed! So – the diplomas… Everyone got one – Thank God!
Then the kids were given the opportunity to speak, if they wanted. Not one to miss an opportunity for the dramatic, Henry opted to go last! I don’t know where he gets this from! (Left Brain is rolling his eyes at this one!) So – I’m waiting in anticipation – I’ve been pretty good as far as not breaking down and crying so far. Then one of his classmates, who has been with Henry since Grade 1 in Dunblaine and is a lovely girl, got up to speak. She started crying in her first paragraph, thanking the school, her parents (her wallet and rocks), and eloquently telling us what it means to be in a place where her learning disability wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Where she’s been allowed to shine and excel. There was not a dry eye in the place…
Henry is next… He talks about his dreams of eradicating the world from stupidity!! (to huge laughs of course). I’m only concerned with our small corner of it at this point… He thanks his teachers and the school, his friends, and lastly, his parents, for the love and support (and being his bank)!
I’m reading this back and realizing that it doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel on this night. I can’t be eloquent or clever enough to express my feelings. All I can say is, Holy S–t! We’re here – my son has graduated! We weren’t ever sure we would be standing here at all. When we began the YMCA, I asked whether he could graduate without math… I asked how long would he be allowed to stay in high school (until the age of 21, FYI…) And we’re here!
One final note…. Henry received an Ontario Scholar diploma. This means he obtained an average of at least 80% in any six of his Grade 12 courses. What a guy! We are SO proud…