Last Wednesday, the 9th of June, Julia finished high school. It was a great day. Julia was excited. It didn’t rain. The day was so hot that I pitied those poor graduates sitting in the middle of the football field with black robes on. I pitied their teachers and administrators more because their black robes were made of heavier material. Spectators were also melting in the 90+ degree weather but. we all survived, a bit damp and frazzled but very happy.
A few days before graduation, the principal emailed that the graduation was going to happen on Wednesday no matter what the weather was. Some showers were predicted at the time. He wrote that if there was rain, the ceremony would hold off until the shower passed, but the class of 2021 would graduate on Wednesday.
Now, I may be remembering his email worded a bit stronger than bit actually was. In my imagination, he was putting his foot down, wresting control of just this one day from the vagaries of the past year, the past 15 months. The principal is calm and appears laid back and incredibly capable, so, I could be merely projecting my need to gain some control over life and completely wrong about his needs.
Apart from being god-awful hot, the ceremony was splendid—a few speakers, teachers and students, and an opening from the principal that was marred by a bad mike which was figured out by the time the names were read.
Julia did a good job of marching in, sitting with her class for a long time, lining up for her certificate, going on stage to get her certificate and shake the appropriate hands. I was very proud of her behavior. This being the school it is, there was a support person who checked on Julia from time to time and encouraged her good behavior. When I looked over that big class of high flyers, academic achievers, promising souls who are headed to prestigious institutions of higher learning and on to brilliant careers, I could not help but reflect that for all their successes and possibilities that my girl has come so much further than so many of them. Her hills have been very steep. And, of course, she has so much further to go as well. Nothing has been easy for Julia and she is still smiling so much of the time.
I am proud.
The day after graduation, Julia got back on the school bus and went to school. There are compensatory covid services — hours of speech and English and social skills that were lost when school closed last year — that will be made up and she is also helping in the special ed office — Julia really enjoyed delivering files to offices and shredding. Her counselor at school told me that Julia was friendly and happy with these tasks, so much more than she has been with academic tasks the last few weeks.
How wonderful it would be if she was willing to embrace these next steps towards adult life.
After school, there was the only track activity that parents were invited to attend. It was supposed to be a meet with another school but that fell through, so it was just the team competing with itself. I saw Julia run. I do believe that physically Julia could run fast, but Julia doesn’t run fast. Julia doesn’t run. I watched her do a medium speed jog, something that I’ve never seen before. I watched her coaches and some teammates need to encourage her to participate, but their persuasion worked and she did everything she was asked.
Extra bonus! She can join the Unified Teams next year when she is in the transition program and be with the same coaches and on the same facilities. I’ve heard from another parent that sometimes transition staff does not encourage students to go back to the high school for activities. But Julia will be there for the Unified Teams!