May 27, 2010


~* In photo(Ric, my nephew Jay and sister Elba)*~

Yesterday my family witnessed with pride my nephew Jay graduate from high school. Jay is not the first in my family to graduate, I have 6 nieces and nephews, 1 great niece and 1 great nephew with another one on the way. Jay's is the 4th graduation we have had the pleasure to attend and I must confess the best one yet.

Now I say that not because I favor Jay but because the speeches given by the chosen graduating students were so much more powerful and poignant than any Valedictorian's speech I had ever heard.

Let me give you a little background, Jay's school is a Continuation School although I think it should be considered an Alternative School. I know Continuation Schools have a reputation for being a school for uncontrollable, disrespectful "bad" kids but that really just isn't the case. I attended this same school and I wasn't a bad kid. I was a kid who suffered a family tragedy, lost my motivation in life and because of that loss of motivation fell behind in school. I couldn't keep up with my graduating class and so I was sent to Continuation School to graduate at my own pace.

This was the story for most the kids who attended school with me. For one reason or another they fell behind and just didn't care anymore. Sure there was 1 or 2 kids who were there because the just thought they were too cool to follow "regular" schools rules but everyone knew it was just a show. Once we realized that we set our own pace, that the teachers are here for us and that nobody has the same amount of credits so your title of "Senior" and "Junior" doesn't matter anymore, the stress of school disappeared and we all just ran our own race.

That's what the student speakers of my nephew's graduating class tried to convey. They all had slipped but they never gave up. That Continuation School is not a place where kids who have no hope or future go. That shame and embarrassment do not walk their halls but that courage and pride does because the only one they are competing with in this school was themselves. They all had a past, they all had a story but that past didn't define who they were or who they were going to become.

It was the best graduation I have ever attended.

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