The day is here! Your graduation from high school. Every time I see you, you remind me and ask if I will be there, and I say, "Yes! Of course!" You also remind me of what I said 4 years ago: that I couldn't wait to be there to see you graduate, that you could count on my presence. Don't be embarrassed if you hear me yelling your name in the audience when you walk across the stage!
I remember well when you first arrived. It was March, and we had just gotten a huge snowstorm. You had never seen snow. You were living with a parent you had not grown up with. You were adjusting to a new school, new people, a new culture and language. It was a lot to handle for your 14 year old self, but you did it with grace and strength. Your father impressed me with his hands-on approach with his 7 kids. He wanted the best for you and came by school unannounced to check up on you. It was easy to tell him how great you were doing, and how hard you worked.
There were days you cried, and I cried with you. It was lonely for you, a very social girl with many friends back home. Classmates and teachers ignored you - not purposely to be mean, but because they did not know how to interact with someone who didn't speak a lot of English. But you made it through, and on the last day of school, I was sad to see you go, knowing at the same time that you would soar and reach places even you did not know you were reaching for.
When you first came, your career goal was to become a flight attendant. Now you want more. You want to study in the science/technology fields; you want to finish college and get graduate degrees. Nothing wrong with being a flight attendant - but your options were limited and now they are limitless.
I checked in on you often with my ELL colleagues at the high school. You did soar, once again becoming the friendly and social young woman you were used to being, involved in sports and clubs, and a role model for many. You were even exited from ELL in 3 years because you did so well so quickly. I felt pride and happiness for you.
This morning in the paper, I saw pictures of the Senior Prom. Your smiling face was prominent in many of them. Gorgeous, happy, and confident, you looked like a young lady going places. And I know you will go places. I am SO proud of you, for your family, and for your mom, who you left behind, for the purpose of getting a good education and having a better future for yourself.
Come back and visit! And I look forward to hearing about the next graduation, and the one after that too. I will be at those, too, if you ever decide you want me there. Wishing you a happy, healthy future, surrounded by family and friends, and with whatever makes you happy.