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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Celebrations Abound

This is a big month for our family.  In fact, this is a big summer.  I guess if I'm having a big summer, then maybe it is, indeed, a big year.  I'm an optimist, so I'm going to declare this, 2013, a big year for our family.

Let me explain.  Kate graduated from high school the other night, Charlie graduates from college next weekend, and Ted and I will celebrating (celebrating?) our 25th anniversary in August.  Charlie will be entering the real world and will (finally) be off the family dole.  Kate will be off to college.  Yup.  I think it's a big year.

So, having established that we're on a roll in my house, I thought I might just tell you a little about the first of our many big events: Kate's graduation from high school.

Let me start by saying that it takes a lot to impress me.  Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I am a tough customer.  Well, Kate's graduation was indeed impressive.  In fact, her graduation was an advertisement for why anyone who has daughters should think seriously about sending them to an all girls school.

Kate's graduation was remarkable in that I have never seen a more self confident, engaged, and indeed, happy group of girls.  This was a group who owned their accomplishments, knew who they were, and made no apologies for their intelligence (or the silly hats for that matter).

Ellis girls graduate wearing hats, which Kate has described as "round visors" or "topless hats".  Ellis girls have been wearing this style of hat since the school's founding almost 100 years ago.  Wearing the Ellis hats, they enter carrying bouquets (a gift from Mom and Dad), all dressed in white dresses.  I thought it would be hokey, but you know what?  It wasn't.  It was lovely.  It harkened back to a time of elegance.  And we don't have enough of that these days.

We had three speakers: the student council president, who spoke about peer pressure (and surprisingly why it's a good thing), the class president, who spoke about what Ellis has meant to her, and an outside speaker named Sonali Samarasinghe.  Ms. Samarasinghe, a native of Sri Lanka, is a civil rights journalist who is living in exile in the United States.  She spoke movingly about her own experiences and the need to give a voice to those who don't have one.

The whole graduation was one of the most empowering (and I hate that word) experiences I have ever had.  I can only imagine what it meant to my daughter and the rest of the Ellis girls.

These milestones -- graduations, anniversaries, and the like, are so important.  They are the events by which we can measure our accomplishments both as parents and as people.   I for one, am feeling pretty good these days.  There's a lot to celebrate.  We all have things to celebrate.  We should revel in it. 

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